Richard Gupton 
Member since Sep 24, 2013


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Re: “Bee In His Bonnet

I applaud the very objective coverage you provided in this article regarding the decline in bee population. You correctly identified the overwhelming factor which leads to the death of bees—the Varroa destructor. The Varroa destructor is a mite whose offspring feed on bee larvae with the ultimate effect that new born bees are weakened which leads to their death.

1 out of every 3 mouthfuls of food we eat and beverages we drink are facilitated by insect pollination. The domestic honey bee is key to agriculture, particularly fruits, nuts and vegetables. News accounts such as yours is important in order to focus the attention of regulators and the research community on the real threat and immediate need to control Varroa destructors and adopt best management practices to enhance bee health. A May 2013 USDA / EPA report on bee health recognizes Varroa mite as the “single most detrimental pest of honey bees and is closely associated with overwintering colony decline.”

The situation is not getting any better and may be getting worse. The National Beekeepers Association of New Zeeland reports that the Varroa mites are becoming immune from products used to control mites. Consequently it is essential that research groups throughout the country continue to address this growing problem of national significance. For example, significantly improving genetic diversity in bees and increasing nutritional options can lessen susceptibility to disease.

The Environmental Protection Agency and its partner the Department of Agriculture share the agricultural industries concern on the need to control Varroa destructors. These federal agencies epitomize the significant contribution that dedicated civil servants can make to solving critical problems facing the American public.

Posted by Richard Gupton on 09/24/2013 at 1:04 PM

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