Amitraz Resistance Testing

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Matt Mulica
mmulica@keystone.org
(406) 240-9606
Honey Bee Health Coalition & USDA ARS Seek 100 Beekeepers for
Amitraz Resistance Testing
DENVER, CO – The Honey Bee Health Coalition, working in partnership with the USDA
Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology lab in
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is launching a pilot project to determine the extent of amitraz
resistance in Varroa mites (Varroa destructor) in managed honey bee colonies in the U.S.
Amitraz is widely used by beekeepers as varroacide, and it currently represents one of the
most effective means of controlling Varroa mites. However, as with several other Varroa
control measures, inevitably, Varroa mites develop resistance to amitraz. There are signs
that some beekeepers are already beginning to see amitraz resistance in their efforts to
control Varroa populations. Effective control of Varroa will depend on utilizing alternative
miticides and implementing more integrated pest management (IPM) strategies all of which
begins with understanding how, when and where resistance develops as well as monitoring
varroa population.
The Honey Bee Health Coalition and USDA ARS are looking for 100 beekeepers who keep
at least 25 or more hives to enter the pilot project. The beekeepers, whose identities will be
kept confidential, will need to sample 8-10 hives that have Varroa infestations and agree to
send in their results to USDA-ARS. Hives should be sampled in August or September
before miticide application. Beekeepers will receive an amitraz resistance testing kit,
including the Apivar™ (amitraz) strips used in the assay, and all instructions on how to
conduct the test. In exchange, beekeepers will need to agree to send back their collected
data in a provided pre-stamped/addressed envelope, and they will receive the results of
their test . This video will give beekeepers a sense of the testing process. Beekeepers can
expect the testing to take a full day. Results of the amitraz resistance test will be
immediately shared with participant beekeepers so they can make informed decisions on
Varroa treatments. A final analysis of the data will be distributed to all participants and
presented at beekeeping conferences.
The Honey Bee Health Coalition and USDA ARS hope to expand the project in following
years to include larger numbers of beekeepers from all over the U.S. and Canada sending
in their data and to begin building a robust data set to track amitraz resistance.
Please send emails expressing intent to participate to Frank D. Rinkevich
(frank.rinkevich@usda.gov). The deadline is September 30.
About the Honey Bee Health Coalition
The Honey Bee Health Coalition brings together beekeepers, growers, researchers,
government agencies, agribusinesses, conservation groups, manufacturers, and consumer
brands to improve the health of honey bees in general and specifically around production
agriculture. It takes collaborative action to improve honey bee health by addressing multiple
factors influencing bee health, including hive pests and disease, forage and nutrition, and
exposure to crop pesticides.