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

 

Interest Rates: Wheeler Hikes OCR To 3% On Inflationary Pressures, Eyes Kiwi

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler lifted the official cash rate for the second time in as many months, saying non-tradable inflationary pressures were "becoming apparent" in an economy that’s picking up pace and he's watching the impact of a strong kiwi dollar on import prices. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Equity Crowd Funding Carries Risks, High Failure Rate

Equity crowd funding, which became legal in New Zealand this month, comes with a high risk of failure based on figures showing existing forays into social capital have a success rate of less than 50 percent, one new entrant says. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Migration Rises To 11-Year High In March

The country gained a seasonally adjusted 3,800 net new migrants in March, the most since February 2003, said Statistics New Zealand. A net 400 people left for Australia in March, down from 600 in February, according to seasonally adjusted figures. More>>

ALSO:

Hugh Pavletich: New Zealand’s Bubble Economy Is Vulnerable

The recent Forbes e-edition article by Jesse Colombo assesses the New Zealand economy “ 12 Reasons Why New Zealand's Economic Bubble Will End In Disaster ”, seems to have created quite a stir, creating extensive media coverage in New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

Thursday Market Close: Genesis Debut Sparks Energy Rally

New Zealand stock rose after shares in the partially privatised Genesis Energy soared as much as 18 percent in its debut listing on the NZX, buoying other listed energy companies in the process. Meridian Energy, MightyRiverPower, Contact Energy and TrustPower paced gains. More>>

ALSO:

Power Outages, Roads Close: Easter Storm Moving Down Country

The NZ Transport Agency says storm conditions at the start of the Easter break are making driving hazardous in Auckland and Northland and it advises people extreme care is needed on the regions’ state highways and roads... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news