The Honey Bee Health Coalition, working with an international team of 12 scientists, has secured a $475,000 grant from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research to facilitate the testing of chemical compounds that could help beekeepers more effectively treat Varroa mite infestations. This funding, matched by participants and industry members to provide more than $1 million in total support, also will document how mites develop resistance to such treatment. The funding will support the identification, lab testing, and field testing over the next three years of “orphaned” chemical compounds that have known mite-killing activity but have not been specifically tested against Varroa mites. Many of these compounds are trapped in a bottleneck where the costs of testing and commercializing them are too steep for testing, effectively leaving them on the shelf. Varroa mites are one of the driving factors in recent colony losses, which threaten productive agriculture and the crops that rely upon commercial pollination services. Left untreated, a single infestation can wipe out colonies and spread rapidly across a region. Given the scale of these problematic parasites in North America, Europe, and around the world, the Honey Bee Health Coalition has worked to help beekeepers monitor and control Varroa mites through the development and dissemination of key resources and information.
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