“But even if the varroa mite problem were solved today, this would not by itself solve all of the problems facing honey bees and beekeepers,” Dr. Jeff Pettis, Research Leader USDA -Agricultural Research Service 1
The latest research on mites, and another avenue2 to control them is welcomed. However, the recent research 3 and surveys4,5 and the current “Mite-A-thon” obfuscates the real cause of the bee health crisis: their toxic environment.
The focus on varroa mites, as the sole pest to honey bees, detracts from a primary factor affecting the health of honey bees: pesticides. The varroa mite has been in the USA since the mid-1980’s. Beginning in 2005 bees started dying in unprecedented numbers. As the cause had not yet been identified, it was called “colony collapse disorder (CCD).” While many researchers have correlated the ecosystem accumulation of systemic and conventional pesticides with abnormal bee mortality, too many continue to discount bee toxic pesticides, including those pesticides clearly defined as “bee toxic.” But in this bee health crisis “There is relatively little incentive for university entomologists to consider complex real-world issues such as the cumulative effects of toxic synergies that involve low doses of neonicotinoids, the way beekeepers might.”6