Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Research looks at natural predators for bee threat

Destroying the destructor

 

Research looks at breeding and natural predators for bee survival

Auckland, New Zealand. 8 May 2009. Scientists are investigating ways to control the destructive varroa mite, a cause of major devastation to honey bees.


With funding from the National Beekeepers Association and the Sustainable Farming Fund, entomologists at Plant & Food Research are looking at ways to either control the varroa mite in bee colonies or breed bees resistant to varroa infestation.

Varroa destructor is a small parasitic mite which infests honey bees and can transfer fatal viral pathogens. Australia is the only Western country which remains varroa-free, with varroa first being detected in the North Island of New Zealand in 2000 and in the South Island in 2006.

Researchers are looking at breeding bees which display natural varroa resistance. They have identified a genetic trait, 'delayed suppression of mite reproduction' or SMRD, which produces varroa mites which cannot reproduce. By selectively breeding for the trait, using artificial insemination of queens, the team has produced a population with high numbers of varroa resistant bees.

“Through the isolation of our bee colonies, on the previously bee unpopulated Great Mercury Island, we can control how the bees breed,” says scientist Michelle Taylor. “We now seem to have a population which has high levels of genetic varroa resistance, which we will be able to use to increase the levels of natural resistance on the mainland and begin to control the varroa mite.”

Other Plant & Food Research scientists are looking at natural predators of the varroa mite as a means of control.

Chelifers, a type of pseudoscorpion, are small arachnids which naturally prey on mites and larvae. Entomologists are looking at whether it is possible to commercially rear chelifers, and how well they can control the varroa mite when introduced to bee hives.

Scientist Brad Howlett says native chelifers can survive in hives, are tolerated by honey bees and readily eat varroa mites. “However, we do not know how many mites they eat over a longer time period or how best to rear them to provide a reliable commercial source of supply. By building better understanding of these small arachnids, we may be able to introduce them to hives as a biological control for the varroa mite.”

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Research: ‘Ageing Well’ Science Challenge Launched

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce today launched the Ageing Well National Science Challenge, confirming initial funding of $14.6 million. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Govt Resisting Pressure To Pump More Cash Into Solid Energy

Prime Minister John Key says it is “not the government’s preferred option” to make a fresh capital injection into the troubled state-owned coal miner, Solid Energy, but dodged journalists’ questions at his weekly press conference on whether that might prove necessary... More>>

ALSO:

Lagest Ever Privacy Breach Award: NZCU Baywide Accepts “Severe” Censure In Cake Case

NZCU Baywide says that once it was found to have committed a breach of a former staff member’s privacy, it had attempted to resolve the matter... the censure and remedies for its actions taken almost three years ago are “severe” but accepted, and will hopefully draw a line under the matter. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: PayPal Stops Processing Mega Payments; NZX Listing Still On

PayPal has ceased processing payments for Mega, the file storage and encryption firm looking to join the New Zealand stock market via a reverse listing of TRS Investments, amid claims it is not a legitimate cloud storage service. More>>

ALSO:

Housing Policy: Auckland Densification As Popular As Ebola, English Says

Finance Minister Bill English said calls by the Reserve Bank Governor for more densification in Auckland’s housing were “about as popular in parts of Auckland as Ebola” would be. More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: NZ Government Deficit Smaller Than Expected In First Half

The New Zealand government's operating deficit was smaller than expected in the first six months of the financial year, as the consumption and corporate tax take rose ahead of forecast in December, having lagged estimates in previous months. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news