Varroas: The mystery of their origin finally revealed!
The varroa mite, feared by beekeepers, is an external parasite that affects domestic bees (Apis mellifera) and which can cause serious damage to colonies. But where does it come from?
The varroa mite is native to Southeast Asia, where it naturally coexists with bees Asian (Apis cerana). This bee has developed defense mechanisms allowing it to tolerate the parasite, unlike the European honey bee which is much more sensitive.
Introduction in Europe:
Varroa was introduced to Europe in the 1970s, probably via the importation of Asian queen bees for honey production. The parasite then quickly spread across the continent, decimating entire colonies of honeybees.
Morphology of Varroa
Varroa, a genus of parasitic mites, has a distinct morphology adapted to its parasitic lifestyle. Measuring approximately 1 to 2 millimeters, these mites have a flattened, oval shape, facilitating their movement and attachment to their hosts, the bees. Their color varies between reddish and brownish, blending in well with the hive environment. The Varroa body is divided into two main parts: the cephalothorax and the abdomen, with the cephalothorax housing the majority of the sensory and locomotor organs. They have eight legs, characteristic of arachnids, equipped with special structures to cling firmly to their hosts. Their sensory organs are adapted to detect environmental changes, essential for locating and choosing their hosts. Their oral apparatus is designed to pierce the host's skin and feed on its blood, with chelicerae capable of piercing the bee's cuticle. Finally, Varroa reproduction involves morphological differences between the sexes, and their life cycle goes through several stages of development, from egg to adult. Their structure and lifestyle make them formidable parasites for bee colonies, representing a great challenge for beekeeping.
The cycle begins with the female Varroa infesting a bee brood cell before it is sealed. Inside the cell, the female Varroa feeds on the hemolymph of the larva and lays several eggs. The first egg gives rise to a male, who then mates with females from subsequent eggs. After mating, the male dies, while fertilized females emerge from the cell with the adult bee, ready to infest new cells or disperse throughout the colony. This cycle of reinfestation, synchronized with the bee development cycle, can lead to a rapid increase in the Varroa population in the colony, seriously threatening its survival if not managed effectively.
A formidable parasite:
The varroa attaches to the bodies of bees and feeds on their hemolymph, weakening them considerably. It can also transmit viruses which further weaken colonies.
Varroa infestation is one of the main problems in global beekeeping today. It is responsible for the loss of millions of colonies each year and threatens crop pollination, a crucial element for biodiversity and food security.
Fight against varroa:
Faced with this scourge, beekeepers have implemented different control strategies, such as the use of chemical treatments, the introduction of resistant breeds of bees and the selection of colonies naturally less susceptible to the parasite.
For good fight against Varroa, you can use the treatment Stop Varroa which is the only one to eliminate 100% of varroa mites. It can also be used in organic beekeeping. Stop Varroa is safe for bees and will not poison your honey.
The Stop Varroa Treatment is organic and easy to use. It guarantees a 100% success rate. Simply lift the frames one by one, then spray both sides with the treatment. The varroa colony will be completely destroyed within 24 hours.
A constant fight:
The fight against varroa is an ongoing battle that requires constant vigilance on the part of beekeepers. Scientific research also continues to explore new avenues to better understand the parasite and develop more effective and sustainable control solutions.
Varroa is a formidable parasite that has had a major impact on global beekeeping. Understanding its origin and the means to combat it is essential to protect bees and guarantee the sustainability of beekeeping.