Should we create ‘genetically superior’ bee species resistant to varroa mites?

| | December 19, 2017
Honey bee
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In Australia, the bee industry is trying to find a way to protect Aussie bees from the varroa mite before it lands down under.

It is a topic of controversy, one that has split the bee industry in Australia. Should we risk developing a bee species immune to the fatal mite and risk introducing other more harmful viruses? Or should we watch idly as Aussie bees die off from the varroa mite?

For some, the answer lies in the genetic creation of a tolerant bee species.

The future of breeding bees may rest in artificial insemination. The process ensures the bees are a genetically superior species. The microscopic procedure could be the answer to the varroa mite problem. By creating a species of bees that are immune to the mite.

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The varroa mite is an external parasite that attacks honey bees. It can only reproduce within a honey bee colony and for this reason are responsible for killing off many colonies all over the world. The deadly mite is yet to arrive in Australia.

Just over the water, in New Zealand, the mite is already amongst the bee hives. Bee keepers interested in genetically mutating Aussie bees have flown over kiwi bee sperm to inseminate Aussie bees. However, the cross-breeding of bees presents its own problems: the deformed wing virus.

Read full, original post: Saving Australia’s Bees

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