bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Monday, November 27, 2006

Honey 'flu

A US farming magazine has published a neat review of the pollination crisis in the USA dubbing the varroa problem as "the honeybee 'flu" en route. Talk seems to be increasing about importing bees.

Another option being touted by entomologists is to import large numbers of bee colonies to replace losses of native bees to pests and natural disasters. Australia, South America and some European countries are potential sources of the common type of gentle bee that is typically raised for honey in the U.S.

Any type of program involving importation of bees will require exceptional inspection vigilance to be certain the imported sources do not bring in any hitchhiking new super virulent pests. One approach is to send genetically superior, inseminated queens to the exporting countries to allow them to establish pest-resistant and tolerant colonies before sending them to U.S. beekeepers.

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