Recently, the Australian authorities have exterminated millions of honeybees in a bid to prevent a potentially devastating parasitic plague affecting the southeast region of the country.
- The recent outbreak of the deadly varroa mite, a sesame seed-sized parasite that was first spotted at a port near Sydney, poses a massive threat to the country’s multimillion-dollar honey industry.
- The Varroa mite, or Varroa destructor, is a parasitic insect that attacks and feeds on honeybees.
- Reddish-brown in colour, the tiny pests are known to kill entire colonies of honeybees, officials have warned. They often travel from bee to bee and also via beekeeping equipment, such as combs that have been extracted.
- The spread of the mite is largely blamed for a sharp decline in the number of honey bee colonies worldwide. It has plundered bee colonies across the globe.
- Although Varroa mites can feed and live on adult honey bees, they mainly feed and reproduce on larvae and pupae in the developing brood, causing malformation and weakening of honey bees as well as transmitting numerous viruses.