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Lecture: Understanding Varroa resistant honey bees with Professor Stephen Martin

3rd November 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Understand the evolution of natural Varroa-tolerance mechanisms in various beekeeping populations.

About this event

Since the arrival of the Varroa mite from Asia, millions of honey bee colonies have died. For decades, beekeepers have continued to control Varroa populations by the use of chemicals and other invasive methods. However, throughout Africa and most of South and Central America mite-infested colonies survive without any form of mite-control. This has been linked with poor mite reproduction, although what causes this has remained unknown. Throughout, Europe the USA and Wales an increasing number of naturally evolved, mite-tolerant colonies are been discovered. The talk will discuss the various tolerant mechanisms and how honey bee populations in Brazil, Africa, USA and UK all appear to have evolved similar ways to combat the Varroa mite

About the speaker

Stephen has studied social insects (bees, wasps, termites and ants) for most of his career. His areas of specialisation are the ‘hornet ecology’, ‘pest and diseases of honeybees’ and ‘chemical ecology of ants’. He holds a Chair in Social Entomology in the School of Environmental and Life Sciences at Salford University, Manchester. Prior to that he spent 12 years working at Sheffield University, 7 years with the National Bee Unit and 7 years in Japan conducting research into hornets.

Stephen is best known for his work on the Varroa mite and its association with viruses, especially the Deformed Wing Virus, but more recently his expertise in hornet biology is in demand, both nationally and internationally. His team of researchers at Salford, funded in part by beekeepers, are using the very latest molecular methods to read the genetic code of the DWV virus. The aim is to understand why some honey bee colonies have become naturally tolerant to Varroa and see if this information can provide beekeepers with a long-term solution to the problem.