Honors College
 

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Major

Ecology and Environmental Science

Advisor(s)

Julia McGuire

Committee Members

Allison Gardner, Hamish Greig, John Jemison, Jennifer Lund

Graduation Year

May 2020

Publication Date

Spring 5-2020

Abstract

Varroa mites, Varroa destructor (Acari: Varroidae), are a parasitic mite of honey bee colonies worldwide. Varroa mites feed on both adult honey bees and developing brood, easily spread between colonies, and can kill European honey bee colonies within just a few years. Beekeepers must apply mite treatments to maintain healthy colonies. This thesis is an overview of the currently available mite treatments in the United States and how they relate to Maine Beekeeping. There are three main research components of this thesis. The first is the analysis of two surveys that Maine beekeepers completed in 2019. The second is a research project testing the efficacy of a new approach to two commonly use mite treatments with the largest commercial beekeeper in Maine. The third is the generation of mite treatment resources based on the previous two components and subsequent presentation to beekeepers across Maine. Numerous mite treatment information sources already exist, but the amount of information can often be difficult for beekeepers unfamiliar with treating. Most Maine beekeepers are small-scale and provided feedback that helped make these outputs applicable to a wider range of beekeeper demographics. Beekeeping is an important part of Maine’s economy and lifestyle, and varroa mite treatment is an essential part of beekeeping. This thesis is a collection of literature, stakeholder-engaged research, and personal anecdotes that is intended to further the field of varroa mite IPM and provide useful resources for beekeepers in Maine and elsewhere to consult when approaching difficult mite treatment decisions.

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