|A Varroa mite, the size and shape of a pinhead, on a bee|
"Although separately they are not major threats to bee populations, when the Varroa mite carries the disease, the combination is deadly, and has wiped out millions of honeybees over recent decades," reports Exeter. "Varroa feed on bee larvae while the Deformed Wing Virus kills off bees, a devastating double blow to colonies. The situation is adding to fears over the future of global bee populations, with major implications for biodiversity, agricultural biosecurity, global economies, and human health."
Lead author Dr. Lena Wilfert said in a statment: “This is the first study to conclude that Europe is the backbone of the global spread of the bee killing combination of Deformed Wing Virus and Varroa. ... This significantly strengthens the theory that human transportation of bees is responsible for the spread of this devastating disease. We must now maintain strict limits on the movement of bees, whether they are known to carry Varroa or not. It’s also really important that beekeepers at all levels take steps to control Varroa in their hives, as this viral disease can also affect wild pollinators.” (Read more)