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New bee semen a double-edged sword against possible varroa mite invasion

A rather delicate artificial insemination procedure may hold the key to saving Australia’s future bee populations from their biggest threat — the varroa mite.

As countries around the world scramble to stop bee populations from disappearing, the Australian bee industry is divided on how to best protect bees from the destructive parasite.

But it involves a controversial question that has split the industry: Should Australia be able to breed up varroa-mite tolerant bee colonies while risking bringing another harmful virus into the country?.. Continued in actual article.

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South Africa has varroa, but no varroa problems.

It’s not just DWV though is it?

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Not a fan of this proposal. One of the last oasis for bees and we are proposing to allow in products that could introduce diseases in the hope of beating a pest we don’t have.

Sounds like cane toads and every other failed biological control trialled worldwide.

No thank you!


@AdamMaskew I agree with your PoV.

But do you have Varroa too? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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@Dawn_SD :sweat_smile: You got me, again. I’m going to edit my post so you look silly. :rofl:

Just curious, do bees use naturally-drawn comb? (Which disrupts the varroa lifecycle)

I’ve been reading about pseudo scorpions :scorpion:, as a part of the hive’s ecosystem, to control varroa in South Africa.

It seems they thrive in Australia’s climate. Are any of you Aussie geeks familiar with these little guys?

@BeePeeker From what I understand, most bee farmers use wax foundation, but I am not certain as to which swarm management strategies most of them use. What I do know is: bee farmers don’t treat, 90% of bees in South Africa are wild, and bees in South Africa are smaller than European bees, which means that they spend less time capped. What is also interesting is that although the gestation period of workers and queens is up to 2 days shorter, drones take 24 days to emerge, which is the same as European bees.

I shall do some research as to what farmers do, and get back to you. The one bee farmer I know only does inspections once a year and has only lost one hive to AFB, none to varroa or SHB (which is native to South Africa).

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@BeePeeker I thought you might find this interesting:

Cape Honeybee

Ujubee: Cape honeybee blog

That is interesting and helpful.

We’ve been hosting foundationless hives since starting up in 2006. We did our research and decided to go with langstroth hives and allow the bees to naturally draw comb (Michael Bush Beekeeping Naturally, Hillary Beekeeping Like a Girl). We also captured swarms for a majority of our hives, so always seemed to have a mix of mutt bees along with our occasional purchase of Italians from California.

We have never lost a hive to varroa, and we do not treat :ok_hand:t4::honeybee::star_struck:I believe that allowing the bees to naturally draw their comb/small cell size is the first and a critical step towards creating robust and healthy bees. (Yes, we do monitor :nerd_face:)

We also do not feed them sugar, unless it is an unusual or emergency situation.

Our goal is to nurture bees that are robust and healthy and which need a minimum amount of fussing with and which are adapted to the wild weather swings and dark damp cold of Puget Sound.

:purple_heart: the Ujubee blog :ok_hand:t4:

Here in RSA the vast majority of managed colonies come from caught swarms. One VERY rarely buys bees.

I fully agree with your philosoph; I think it’s a winning strategy.

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But you can’t edit mine, and yours will have an edit icon next to it. So I wonder who will look silly??? :sunglasses: