Developing new miticides for varroa destructor control in honey bees (phase 2)

Project Details

Status: Completed
Investment: $499,968
Commodity: Bees
Organization: University of Alberta
Investigator: Olav Rueppell

Varroa is estimated by many beekeepers and scientists to be the single most important threat to this industry, particularly in light of failing current control measures.

Why is this research important for Alberta ag?

Annually, Alberta’s apicultural industry produces 17X106 Kg of honey and adds $1.7-$2.1B in pollination value. However, beekeepers suffer 18-44% colony losses per year, largely due to the ectoparasitic mite, varroa destructor. The limited availability of varroacides has resulted in widespread evolution of resistance in varroa populations. Thus, new controls that are safe for bees and exhibit high efficacy against varroa need to be developed.

This research will investigate the mortality and sublethal effects of single compounds and combinations simultaneously in cohorts of mites and bees, and test residues in bee products. These results will yield 1-2 novel treatment approaches that can then be tested in phase 3 with full-scale field trials to add all required data for Pest Management Regulatory Agency registration and implement a new solution to sustainable beekeeping.

What benefits can producers expect from this research?

This research would introduce novel treatment options that can be quickly brought onto the market by adopting products from other agricultural commodities. It would also help to develop a more comprehensive IPM plan for varroa to guarantee the long-term sustainability of the apicultural industry in Alberta and beyond.

How will these research findings reach producers on-farm?

Researchers on this project are actively involved in community outreach and are partners of the Alberta Beekeepers. As such, there will be regular presentations at beekeeper meetings and conventions. Knowledge will also be transferred through publications, conferences, and dedicated websites.

Funded in part by the Government of Canada under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.