New Fungus Strain Could Help Control Varroa Mites

Researchers at Washington State University have identified a new, heat-resistant strain of the fungus Metarhizium that can survive inside honeybee hives. The fungus releases spores that germinate on varroa mites, killing them from the inside out. Bees, on the other hand, have high immunity against the spores, so the treatment is safe for them. The researchers will next seek Environmental Protection Agency approval and work on a delivery method. Steve Sheppard, corresponding author on the study published in Scientific Reports, says, “We hope in 10 years that, rather than chemical miticides, Metarhizium is widely used to control Varroa mites…And that the mite problem for beekeepers has been significantly reduced.”