Varroa Mites

The Varroa mite (Varroa destructor) is a parasitic mite that was introduced to North America in 1985. It feeds on the hemolymph of the honeybee. It is essentially a tick for honeybees. These parasites reproduce inside a capped cell then attach to the pupae to feed on it's hemolymph. When the drone emerges, if it survives pupation, the mites will exit the cell and find another host, usually another adult honeybee and then start the reproductive process all over again. A good analogy is having a tick (or ticks) the size of a saucer attached to you and you cannot remove it. The wound made by the proboscis of the mite cannot heal because the mite secretes an immunosuppressant. This open wound provides a perfect access for viruses and bacteria. Varroa is known to transmit 18 different viruses to the honeybee and is the biggest nemesis facing the beekeeper.