"What is Varroa good for?"
Last Sunday my Minister gave a sermon about a number of things, one of which was about an Entomologist who studied Grasshoppers in Wyoming(if I recall correctly). He studied grasshoppers for 20 years getting to know them intemately. He loved grasshoppers. Like beekeepers love bees I guess. But his real job was to get to know them so he could kill them. You see, grasshoppers have great ag economic impact. For eight years grasshoppers eat lots of crops, but come the ninth and tenth years they eat EVERYTHING. So he had to figure out how to kill the thing he loved.
When he would go to partys he often got asked "What are grasshoppers good for?" I don't recall that an answer was given. But what was pointed out was a different way of looking at the problem. The entomologist figured out that the tried and true method of killing grasshoppers by spraying everything not only didn't work very well after a number of years, he figured out that there was another way to address the problem. He figured out that if a certain insecticide was applied to only part of a crop that it would kill grasshoppers on that plot and then other grasshoppers would notice no grasshoppers over there and they would invade and eat the dead grasshoppers, thereby lowering the amount of insecticide applied by 90%.
All that to ask, what are Varroa mites good for? How can we come to love varroa enough to understand them well enough to get to the point where we can come up w/ effective "controls" which severally lower use of and exposure to miticides? Certainly there must be some Arachnidologists out there who know this critter really well.
That entomologist quit entomology and now teaches creative writing.
Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."