Re: Does Varroa have a natural reservoir?
It only breeds in bees. Although it has been found on bumblebees, and carpet beetles, both of which visit flowers. But it cannot breed on either of those.
One potential reservoir is it's natural host, apis cerana. If apis cerana was introduced to the US, it would become a natural reservoir.
When you used the words "in nature", remember that varroa is not a natural pest of apis melifera, our honeybee. It was introduced to our honeybees, by human meddling. That is why varroa has been so devastating, there is no natural balance as yet.
In the wild, when events like this happen, the result can be the host and prey adapting, or extinction of one or both. When North and South America were separated from each other, there were some amazing animal species, both prey and predator, such as bear dogs, sabre tooth tigers, etc. Then the two continents linked and there was a migration of predators who found new prey that was totally defenceless against them, as they had not developed in tandem. The result was mass extinctions, not only of some prey species but also some predator species.
It is taken by many as a foregone conclusion, that if we just left bees alone, they would develop full resistance to mites. But this is not a foregone conclusion, if we base our views on past natural history of similar new predator meets new prey situations.
44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).