Michigan bee populations are fighting a growing threat from a deadly parasite. Scientists say increasing numbers of honey bee colonies infected with the Varroa Mite have prompted the creation of a national database to track its movement. Michigan State University Academic Specialist and Coordinator for the Michigan Pollinator Initiative, Meghan Milbrat, says in order to keep track of Varroa infestations, beekeepers are asked to participate in a program this week to develop a mapping database.
“This week is Miteathon 2018. And the goal for that is to get all of the beekeepers to monitor for Varroa mites in this week, and to register the amount of mites at mitecount.com” -Meghan Milbrath, MSU
Milbrath says bee populations are facing a number of threats that are wiping out huge numbers of bees, including insecticides and lack of available nutrition. She says the blood-sucking Varroa Mite is one of the top dangers to colonies. It entered the U-S during the 1980’s by way of Asian bees. Native species show no immunity to its deadly effects.