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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lexington, VA, USA
    Posts
    66

    Default Stratiolaelaps - A bug to Fight Varroa?

    On Beesource today Michael Palmer wanted to know if anyone had heard of such a possible study in this area. The thread went off on another thread so I thought I would post it here. It is an interesting and hopeful concept.
    I contacted Brian Spencer at Applied Bio-nomics, the producer of Stratiolaelaps a bug that would attack varroa mites and apparently there have been a couple of trials that have been successful. The following is a copy of part of my email exchange with himstart at the bottom and scroll up)
    [email]
    You can buy Stratiolaelaps from any of the distributors on the list.
    I think George was putting in about 50 ml per hive. So, one bottle can do 20 hives.
    Brian

    From: Bill Abell [mailto:abell.bill@gmail.com]
    Sent: February-20-13 4:50 PM
    To: Brian Spencer
    Subject: Re: [Applied Bio-nomics contact] Varroa Mites

    Brian,
    Thank you for the information and your efforts on behalf of the honey bees. I certainly hope you will be successful. I do not use any chemicals in my 4 hives as I think it is incredibly dangerous to the bees, myself, my family and friends who get some of the honey. It is difficult to keep the hives healthy and alive because of varroa directly and indirectly through disease, killing the bees. I know that most beekeepers even if they now use chemicals would be ecstatic if you or someone came up with a natural remedy. I assume that you do not have an objection with me sharing your email with my fellow beekeepers. I believe the beekeeping community would be behind such an effort and would give you all the help we could.

    On Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 6:15 PM, Brian Spencer <brianabl@telus.net> wrote:

    Hi Bill

    I have copied Margaret Skinner, a professor at University of Vermont, who is investigating the opportunity of doing research on the topic, and, George Scott, a researcher at SRI Inc in Ontario, Canada. George has, single handily, proceeded with this research in spite of being challenged by provincial and federal authorities, making things uncomfortable for him. I have run into similar, subtle discouragement in the past 15 years when I was trying to get trials like this one done.
    As far as I am concerned, I have seen enough evidence to say that I am confident that Stratiolaelaps scimitus effectively controls the Varroa mite, without posing any risk to a hive.
    But, being the one who is producing the product, I am not the one who should be “objectively” scrutinizing it.
    There is no doubt that bee keepers need a lot of help. Honey Bees, in the US, do not fall under USDA Aphis plant protection. Because they are not native, they have always been treated as “livestock” falling into a group of government departments that has no interest or understanding of insects, outside of Veterinary medicine.
    For me, this is just a personal thing. We make our money selling this mite to control agricultural plant pests. With the small amounts that would be used in Honey Bees, it isn’t a big deal for us. So, I just want to help.
    I certainly want to stay involved with the research, so, I will take a look at the forum. Perhaps George can send a link to one of his videos. This is the way that we will make progress, from the beekeepers back up the chain. I am currently researching a new formulation of the carrier that will allow us to do trials in people’s houses for Bed Bugs. If we can come up with a viable product, we may market this product, which is already being used by pet distributors to control poultry lice and phoretic mites in reptiles and tarantula, and Hermit Crabs, directly to Bee Keepers. And, we have a trial in Oregon at a Dog Kennel for Flea control going on. But, from a commercial point of view, this mite usually works in a single application, providing persistent control, so, all we are really going to be doing is taking millions of dollars away from the chemical industry, which is probably why we run into such interesting roadblocks.
    Brian



    From: Bill Abell [mailto:abell.bill@gmail.com]
    Sent: February-20-13 1:07 PM
    To: Brian Spencer
    Subject: Re: [Applied Bio-nomics contact] Varroa Mites



    Brian,
    I am just a beekeeper in Lexington, VA. I saw a forum post discussing a rumor that someone was working on this type of effort to control varroa. I am sure you can appreciate that beekeepers all over the world are interested. You can see the forum thread at http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?278414-Possible-Mite-Control
    Perhaps you could join the forum and let everyone know what is hoped for and the status. Thanks.
    Bill

    On Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 2:31 PM, Brian Spencer <brianabl@telus.net> wrote:

    I need to know who is asking first.
    I reason I am asking is that we have found considerable roadblocks doing this research. The research in Canada has been largely secret because of this. Once I know who you are, I will pass your contact info on to the researcher, who will then decide whether or not to contact you.
    It is hoped that the Pennsylvania research will be out in the open, but nothing has happened yet.
    Brian

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
    Posts
    880

    Default Re: Stratiolaelaps - A bug to Fight Varroa?

    Applied Bio-nomics' website characterizes Stratiolaelaps scimitus as "an accomplished generalist soil predatory mite . . . " http://www.appliedbio-nomics.com/pro...stratiolaelaps

    I must be missing something - How does a predatory bug that lives and feeds in the soil help with Varroa?

    Maybe it is supposed to help with small hive beetle?
    Last edited by shinbone; 02-20-2013 at 09:37 PM.
    --shinbone
    (3rd year, 14 hives, Zone 5b, 5400 ft, 15.8" annual rainfall)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,063

    Default Re: Stratiolaelaps - A bug to Fight Varroa?

    It is being tested on mites. I am interested in following this one. I would guess these little bug to bite bigger bugs comes in some carrier material and I can see that being sprinkled on clustered bees. I doubt if phoretic mites would suffer much from it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT, USA
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Stratiolaelaps - A bug to Fight Varroa?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    It is being tested on mites. I am interested in following this one. I would guess these little bug to bite bigger bugs comes in some carrier material and I can see that being sprinkled on clustered bees. I doubt if phoretic mites would suffer much from it.
    True, but depending on life-span and persistance, it might be able to hang around long enough to wait for the phoretic mites to hatch and then ambush them. So, *perhaps* one treatment could catch multiple generations?

    I'll be *really* curious to see where this one goes....

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,924

    Default Re: Stratiolaelaps - A bug to Fight Varroa?

    you could realease it in the hive and it would run around hopefully predating varroa and not eggs/young larvae.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,063

    Default Re: Stratiolaelaps - A bug to Fight Varroa?

    Yes, that is the rub JRG. The critter is described as opportunistic and lots of opportunity in a brood nest without mites. That being said, the anecdotal information from canadian experiementers does not state brood predation as a concern. No real info yet however. I will want to wait and watch on this one.

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