JAN 19, 2011: There is new hope for the beleaguered honey bee.
Scientists believe they may be able to stop global honey bee losses by forcing the deadly varroa mite to self-destruct. The blood-sucking varroa is the biggest killer of honey bees worldwide, having developed resistance to beekeepers’ medication. It is particularly destructive in winter, as depleted colonies do not have enough bees huddling together to keep warm. Now researchers from the Government’s National Bee Unit and Aberdeen University have worked out how to ‘silence’ natural functions in the mites’ genes to make them self-destruct.