Today, Felix was singing merrily as he walked into the Mystical dorm room after a morning spent gardening. He said, “Verum, Verum! I befriended a honeybee today! What a hardworking little thing!”
“Oh, that’s wonderful, Felix,” said Verum, “Protect your little friend. I have some not-so-nice news about bees from Australia. Many bees have been put under lockdown while others have been destroyed. The cause behind it? The deadly varroa mite!”
“Oh no! That is truly terrible news,” said a worried Felix.
“What are you guys talking about?” said Scorch as she entered the room, “What is the terrible news?”
“Varroa mite or varroa destructor is a tiny parasitic insect. A parasite is an animal or plant that lives on or inside another animal or plant and gets its nutrients from them. It is often at the expense of the other animal or plant called the host,” explained Felix, “The varroa mite attacks and feeds on honeybees. It can destroy or kill entire colonies!
The mite mainly feeds on bee larvae or pupae (stages of development in bees before adulthood). In doing so, it weakens the honeybees and also transmits several viruses.”
“That sounds serious,” said Scorch.
“It is. A couple of weeks ago, the parasite was spotted near the Port of Newcastle near Sydney. Since then, the outbreak has spread to 400 other sites in the area.
It has also been detected in nine other locations, spreading as far as a city called Dubbo about 378 kilometers away,” said Verum, “These mites travel from bee to bee as well as through beekeeping equipment.
Soon after the pest’s detection, authorities in New South Wales, an Australian state, established biosecurity zones. This has limited the movement of bees, hives, honey, and comb in the zones until further notice.
Along with this, millions of bees have been destroyed to prevent the further spread of the varroa mites.
It is extremely important to stop this outbreak from spreading. The varroa mites are the biggest threat to bees worldwide! Until recently, Australia was the only continent in the world free of them.”
“This will have a tremendous impact on the country’s honey industry. I hope the outbreak is soon brought under control,” said Scorch.