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What Is A Varroa Mite

A Varroa Mite is a parasite, much like a tick you might find on your dog. They live off of their host by attaching themselves and sucking nutrients from their host’s blood. 

Varroa Mite under a microscope.
Varroa Mite under a microscope.




How The Varroa Mite Contributes To Colony Collapse Disorder

Varroa Mites are very small, red and can only reproduce inside of a honey bees hive. The honey bee is essential to the varroa mite’s existence but, an infestation of the mites inside of a hive will eventually kill the entire bee colony. This happens through a number RNA viruses but the most fatal to bee colonies is called, Deformed Wing Virus or DWV. As the bee is in its early stages of development, Egg – Larva – Pupa, the Varroa Mite will get into a brood cell (single cell of the honey comb where a new bee is developing) and attach itself to its new host. With the transfer of viruses begin at this early stage of the honey bee’s life and the amount of energy that the bee loses from its fat storages and blood loss both contribute to a weakening bee colony at an alarming rate. 

As you can imagine, a bee hive full of bees with deformed wings and low energy levels will not last very long. The Varroa Mite is a main cause of Colony Collapse Disorder. 

 

Varroa Mite on honey bee pupa

Varroa Mite on honey bee pupa




How Can We Stop The Varroa Mite

With Chaga and Reishi fungi we can turn around the varroa mite problem and help save our bees. Both of these fungi provide a nutritional value to the honey bee while killing off the varroa mite. 

Many bee farmers have tried using mite pesticides inside of their hives only to find that it was also killing their bees. 

Last winter nearly half of all bee hives on the East side of the United States did not come back to life during the Spring. The main cause was found to be a Varroa Mite infestation. 

This has affected not only the bees but, many people that work in the honey bee industry. Bee Farmers expecting to watch their colonies resurrect as the snow melted were crushed to find that the Varroa Mite had taken so many of their bee’s lives. 

One Scientist in particular set out to help find a remedy/cure for the problem we are still dealing with today. His name is Paul Stamets and he studies in the field of fungi, mainly with mushrooms. One day, he noticed that honey bees kept flying in and out of a rotting log near his cabin in Washington. As he observed, he took note that the bees were visiting a fungi that was helping decompose the rotting log. Years later, when he heard about the colony collapse disorder it brought back the memory of the bees visiting the decomposing log and with his knowledge of fungi benefits, he began to wonder if the fungi was giving the bees some sort of health benefit or nutritional value. 

The testing began by adding the fungi to the honey bees water source and the results were astonishing. The addition of nutrients to the honey bees diet increased their energy level, immune system and made them live longer! On top of this, the fungi nutrients now in the blood streams of the honey bees was toxic to the varroa mite. Paul Stamets had discovered a resolution to the varroa mite problem and this year, 2017, they are continuing to conduct tests on a much larger scale. 

We at Honey Helper are currently working to help distribute the fungi remedy to bee farmers across the US by raising money to help fund the distribution of the Chaga and Reishi fungi. If you would like to contribute, please make a donation here on our website. 

 

Chaga Fungi

Chaga Fungi

Reishi Fungi

Reishi Fungi

Paul Stamets

Paul Stamets