Don’t Ignore Varroa, Beekeeper Warns

An experienced Austrian apiarist has urged her peers to take the constant threat posed by the Varroa mite seriously.

Edith Panzenböck, who heads the Association of Beekeepers in Western Vienna, said: “Varroa is a crucial matter when it comes to the health of bees. Many suppress the issue as it’s not a positive topic.”

The Varroa destructor is a parasite which has been posing the biggest threat to honeybee colonies during winter for decades. It reproduces by attaching to the bodies of the insects.

Edith told broadcaster Ö1: “I have been confronted with Varroa from day one. In my first beekeeping season, the danger may not have been that obvious.

“My colonies weren’t treated properly. Losing them was quite a shock.”

Picture shows the Varroa destructor (Varroa mite) an external parasitic mite that attacks and feeds on honey bees, undated. (USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab, NewsX/Bee)

The Vienna-based beekeeper, whose union has around 200 members, said she was trying to keep Varroa a relevant topic.

Edith said: “We attempt to avoid its neglection. Especially young beekeepers must know that their bee colonies are benefiting from being treated.”

Speaking to Ö1, Edith emphasised: “Without anti-Varroa therapies, the honeybees would not survive.”

The European Commission branded the Varroa mite “the most impacting pathogen threat for honeybees and the beekeeping industry worldwide.”

Apiarists use hive-monitoring apps, oils and pesticides to keep the parasite in check. Edith underlined: “People should stick to registered products and apply them as suggested.”


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