20 Jul 2008

Varroa bio-control agent could be available next year

8:26 pm on 20 July 2008

A honeybee expert says a new bio-control agent for the deadly varroa bee mite could be available for beekeepers to use as early as autumn next year.

Honey bee scientists from HortResearch have identified a fungus that kills varroa, but doesn't effect bees or the honey.

Mark Goodwin from HortResearch, says until now the fungus has been an effective varroa control in lab tests, but it didn't work as well in the field.

He says HortResearch is working with an international company to commercialise the product for the beekeeping industry to use.

Dr Goodwin says the scientists have come up with a way of making the fungus stay in the hive long enough to kill the varroa.

He says using the fungus is beneficial for beekeepers, because it's difficult for the mite to build up a resistance to it, unlike with chemical pesticides.

Dr Goodwin says it doesn't leave residues in the honey, so it can be safely used by organic beekeepers.