Re: Small Cell Studies
This is not direct cause and effect. It gets down to the mechanism involved. If a parasitic wasp lays eggs on a caterpillar and the eggs hatch and the wasp larvae feeds, the caterpillar will surely die. What happens next is that the wasps mature and go out hunting new hosts. The key is that the parasite must be able to go to a new host and begin feeding. This is a balanced parasite/host cycle.
The question, really, is whether the pathogen can reproduce and pass genes into the future. Whether the host survives or dies is less important than the ability of the pathogen to pass genes to future generations.
If that cycle is interrupted because the parasite can't get to a new host, then the parasite dies. The concept under discussion is whether phoretic mites are able to move from a dead colony to another colony where they can continue to feed and multiply. Unfortunately, my experience with varroa is that they have multiple mechanisms for moving from colony to colony, especially when the colonies are very close together. For this reason, I am highly skeptical of claims for less virulent mites.
From what I have been able to observe, a huge amount of varroa tolerance gets down to enhanced grooming behavior combined with enhanced removal of infested brood.
DarJones - 46 years, 14 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell