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Cooperative Extension San Joaquin County
University of California
Cooperative Extension San Joaquin County

Not a Pleasant Sight

What's wrong with this photo?

A honey bee is nectaring a lavender, right? 

Right.

But if you look closely, you'll see a Varroa mite--a parasite--attached to her.  

Varroa mites, considered the No. 1 pest in the honey bee industry, are linked to colony collapse disorder, a mysterious phenomenon characterized by adult bees abandoning the hive, leaving behind food stores and the brood.

Varroa mites are so common that it's rare to find a hive without them.

Female mites reproduce inside brood cells in the hive. Mites suck the bee blood or hemolymph; in doing so, they spread viruses, stunt the growth and cause deformities. 

Within two years, they can destroy a colony. 

Not a pleasant sight. 

Mite on bee
Mite on bee

VARROA MITE on a honey bee (see raised reddish-brown spot under the wing). The mites reproduce in the hive, sucking the blood of pupae. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up
Close-up

CLOSE-UP of a Varroa mite on a honey bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, November 13, 2009 at 9:06 PM

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