I attended a presentation by Samuel Ramsey a while back on his research before it was published. It has finally become available and for beekeepers it makes an interesting and informative read for the winter. I’m certain companies are paying close attention as it has direct implications on how to control Varroa destructor. It will be years before a new product comes to market to control Varroa, but this research certainly advances our understanding and will put treatment in a new direction.
Summarized from the abstract and conclusion:
The parasitic mite Varroa destructor is the greatest single driver of the global honey bee health decline. It is not consuming hemolymph, as has been the accepted view, but damages host bees by consuming fat body, a tissue roughly analogous to the mammalian liver. The lack of success in developing effective systemic pesticides likely is because of the same issue of tissue misidentification. The development of tools, both chemical and nonchemical, to manage this pest is particularly likely to be affected by these findings. "Our study reflects a need to reexamine even the fundamentals of our knowledge of Varroa as we work to diminish its impact...Our work provides a path forward for the development of novel treatment strategies for Varroa.”
Published article title:Varroa destructor feeds primarily on honey bee fat body tissue and not hemolymph
Available at: https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2019/01/08/1818371116
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