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Varroa hitchhikers

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I would be much more interested if they had a video of a mite jumping off the bee in the first place!


Presumably @Dave Black , if the authors had published video showing the mite jumping off the bee onto the flower, your post would have read "I would be much more interested if they had a video of a mite jumping onto a bee!"


You have to admit the video at least opens the possibility of this mode of transmission between colonies.


And even without the rest of the puzzle pieces in place, it is still a neat piece of video.

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"I would be much more interested if they had a video of a mite jumping onto a bee!"


I had skimmed the paper - my remark was a little tongue-in-cheek. My point was more about motivation; I can see why a mite would climb onto a bee, I'm not sure why it would end up on the flower, although apparently it has happened. It must be very risky, or inadvertent, behaviour for a mite. The study understands this limitation:


It is not yet clear how significant this mode of transmission may be for mite spread between colonies because little is known about how frequently mites wind up on flowers. Our study examined only the transfer of mites from flowers to bees but not from bees to flowers...The actual likelihood of a mite transferring between two colonies via this floral transfer pathway is unknown, and further study is required to determine whether this is a major, minor, or completely negligible transmission phenomenon in nature.


The movement itself does not surprise me. The video is nice, but there are other videos that show the speed and agility of mites in the hive, even if you haven't seen it for real. That the phytosanitary precautions for the trade in flowers are pathetic...agree completely. Pragmatism usually triumphs over biosecurity.

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It would be probable that most people who see mites think that they are passive (or dead) on white boards. In a sugar shake they are very active and malevolent with their legs moving rapidly and thrashing around, so their mobility would be expected. And agile. So an open mesh bottom board may make their climbing just too far ...

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