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Title: Challenges for developing biopesticides against varroa

item Meikle, William
item Sammataro, Diana
item MERCADIER, G - European Biological Control Laboratory (EBCL)

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2011
Publication Date: 11/1/2011
Citation: Meikle, W.G., Sammataro, D., Mercadier, G. 2011. Chapter 6: Biological control of honey bee pests. p. 59-66 in Sammataro, D. and J.A. Yoder (eds) Honey Bee Colony Health: Challenges and Sustainable Solutions. Taylor & Francis Group LLC, London.

Interpretive Summary: Biological control, which is the control of insect and mite pests by other insects or mites, has been very successful in agriculture in general. However, it has only seldom been applied to beekeeping, partly because bees are very clean and can clean out pest natural enemies and partly because few beekeepers have experience with biological control and natural biological control in bee hives is little studied. Biological control has only been attempted against three main bee pests: wax moth, Varroa mite and the Small Hive Beetle. In this chapter, we reviewed the main publications in biological control in apiculture and discussed some of their results. While some successes have been noted, much work needs to be done to identify effective natural enemies, including insects and pathogens, and to understand their ecology in the bee hive.

Technical Abstract: Biological control of bee pests is a small but growing field as beekeepers and bee researchers seek ways to reduce pesticide use. Of the arthropod pests of honey bees, the pests that have been targets of biological control on at least the laboratory level are the Wax Moths Galleria mellonella and Achroia grisella, the Varroa mite Varroa destructor, and the Small Hive Beetle Aethina tumida. Several organisms have been proposed as biological control agents against wax moth, including naturally-occurring parasitoids, and one, a bacterium, has been commercialized. Biological control of V. destructor has involved application of entomopathogenic fungi, and while some results have been encouraging, more work is clearly needed with respect to isolate selection, formulation and application method. Fungal agents have, likewise, been used against A. tumida and elevated mortality has been observed, but no field tests have been reported thus far. The interaction of biological control agents, bees and target pests needs further research.