Honeybees that are pest resistant. That’s today’s This Land of Ours.
Pol-line honeybees, a type of Varroa mite-resistant honeybee developed by the Agricultural Research Service, are more than twice as likely to survive through the winter than standard honeybees. That’s according to a study published in Scientific Reports. Although ARS developed Pol-line bees in 2014, this study was the first time that they were tested head-to-head alongside standard honeybee stock in commercial apiaries providing pollination services and producing honey. Varroa mites can cause massive colony losses; they are the single largest problem facing beekeepers since they spread to the United States from Southeast Asia in 1987. While miticides used to control Varroa exist, resistance is developing to some of them. This research was the culmination of breeding efforts to develop honeybee colonies with naturally low Varroa populations that began at a Baton Rouge, Louisiana lab in the late 1990s.
Listen to Sabrina Halvorson’s This Land of Ours program here.
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.
Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.