The Changing Face of Deformed Wing Virus

National Pollinator Week Bee Health Webinar Recap

The spread of the Varroa mite has dramatically changed the viral landscape of the honey bee since the mite’s arrival in the U.S. Read on to learn more about the connection between Varroa and deformed wing virus and what this means for beekeepers around the world.

Each year in June, National Pollinator Week provides us with an opportunity to celebrate honey bees and other pollinators around the world. As part of our activities this year, we joined with Bee Culture and Project Apis m. to host the second annual bee health webinar series and hear the latest updates during two live webinars led by researchers participating in Bayer’s Healthy Hives 2020 initiative. New this year, the researchers were joined by beekeepers who are collaborating on their projects to share real-life implications of the research.

The webinar series kicked off with a presentation by Dr. Brandon Hopkins, Assistant Professor, Department of Entomology at Washington State University, and Brody Tomazin, Commercial Beekeeper at 2J Honey Farms and Round Valley Honey Company, and President of the Idaho Honey Industry Association. Both shared their work on a practical, digital management tool for commercial beekeepers that uses RFID tracking to help monitor hives in real time.

The second installment featured Dr. Stephen Martin, Professor, School of Environment & Life Sciences at University of Salford, Manchester, and Randy Oliver, Commercial Beekeeper and Founder of ScientificBeekeeping.com.

During their presentation, Dr. Martin and Mr. Oliver explored how the distribution of Varroa mite across the globe has changed over the years and how this has impacted the prevalence of viruses in colonies, particularly the deformed wing virus. According to Dr. Martin, before Varroa spread around the world, occurrence of deformed wing virus was relatively rare in honey bee colonies. However, once the Varroa mite became prevalent in hives, deformed wing virus became one of the most widely-spread viruses on the planet and the only one with such a close correlation with Varroa.

Ultimately, Dr. Martin, Mr. Oliver and their team of researchers are seeking to answer one question: can honey bees and Varroa co-exist? To learn the answer and dig deeper into the implications for your hives, hear from Dr. Martin and Mr. Oliver by viewing the webinar recording here. Just click the “View Replay” button.

Ultimately, Dr. Martin, Mr. Oliver and their team of researchers are seeking to answer one question: can honey bees and Varroa co-exist? To learn the answer and dig deeper into the implications for your hives, hear from Dr. Martin and Mr. Oliver by viewing the webinar recording here. Just click the “View Replay” button.