Varroa birth control pill
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  1. #1
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    Default Varroa birth control pill

    Is anyone aware of research done to understand the varroa reproductive system? Instead of trying to kill them after they mate, why not try to keep a female from laying viable offspring or sterilize the male. I'm all for varroa vasectomy.
    Zone 7a - 1650ft

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Varroa birth control pill

    Going to need more than +3 magnifiers and an exacto knife for that. Heck we can't even figure out how OA kills them.
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Varroa birth control pill

    Quote Originally Posted by Spur9 View Post
    Instead of trying to kill them after they mate, why not try to keep a female from laying viable offspring or sterilize the male. I'm all for varroa vasectomy.
    The varroa male mates with the female inside the capped brood cell. The male/female mites doing the mating are the offspring* of the mother mite that is in the cell along with her offspring, and the entire process, from "birth" of those offspring to their mating (with each other) occurs within the capped cell, and in less time than a week. So there is little opportunity to do anything to affect the fecundity of the varroa offspring unless one found a way to alter the reproductive characteristics of the mother mite that would be passed along to her offspring..

    More on varroa reproduction here: http://articles.extension.org/pages/...uctive-biology


    *On occasion, there may be more than one mother mite within a single cell, so their offspring have an opportunity to mate with offspring from the "other" mother mite, but this situation is not the norm.

    .
    Last edited by Rader Sidetrack; 09-15-2017 at 08:41 AM. Reason: typo
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Varroa birth control pill

    Nano-bot varroa destructor destroyers.
    Of course they won't be cheap. Still working on the [email protected]
    Internet credibility is an oxymoron

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Varroa birth control pill

    A virus that produced infertility in varroa would be intriguing.

    Because of their incestuous mating, they would have difficulty spreading survivor genes. The normal course of resistance is for survivor genes to become more prevalent, and then cross breeding spreads those genes thru the species. The genetic diversity of the species remains high except that the survivor gene replaces the vulnerable genes. But with cross-breeding rare in varroa (and exceedingly rare if the population is in decline due to the sterility disease), what you would end up with is a genetic bottleneck in which only resistant strains survived. Genetic diversity can become extremely limited. That presents an opportunity to find a second line of attack that might wipe them out entirely.

    This is no guarantee you could pull it off, but fun to think about.

    Nano-bot Varroa destructor destroyers: in nature, these are called viruses.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Varroa birth control pill

    Infertility would be great! I'd settle for a growth inhibitor. I have read about treatments to plants and fruit trees that act and an inhibitor to the mites that attack them. I had parakeets growing up and would routinely spray them for mites and lice.
    Zone 7a - 1650ft

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Varroa birth control pill

    Causing varroa mite sterility seems to be a good method of population control. I understand some mosquito control is accomplished by releasing sterile male mosquitos. To my unscientific mind, when I read that varroa mites that poop directly on the bee pupae are always sterile for some unknown reason, that seemed to me to be something worth investigating, and possibly worth a fortune if it could be turned into a patented process. Does anyone know if anything can come from that oddity? Here is a publication that mentions this evidentiary tidbit.

    http://articles.extension.org/pages/...uctive-biology

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Varroa birth control pill

    "If there are ways to artificially increase the hive RH to about 80%, then the varroa mite population will never increase to a damaging level."


    I don't know about finding a miracle pill within this century. For this quote I can do. Put a pan of water inside the hive and then put a fog making device in the water. This will increase the humidity to 90% or more. How the bees regulate this fog is up to them. Humm, will be an interesting experiment to try during the winter time when it's raining outside.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Varroa birth control pill

    >I had parakeets growing up and would routinely spray them for mites and lice.

    A pyrethrins spray? They also make sulfur lime spray for some pets. it's just another type of treatment similar to OAV.

    There are studies about created RNA and DNA cocktails to eliminate mites, hypnotizing a ±90% reduction. Bees are fed this GM cocktail that kill mites that feed on the bees. These studies were 10+ years ago so. Nothing has come of it. It would also just be another way to way treat. Require contiguous treatments.

    Complete different than mutating mosquito genetics, as Rader points out varroa is a colonial species, almost impossible to alter the DNA to make a less fertile mite. You could however make a more virulent mite that could displace the mite we have now.

    Might be easier just to incorporate TF or VHS traits in to your apiary.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Varroa birth control pill

    I think this could be done with CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat), a DNA editing process. I'm not aware of anyone working on the elimination of varroa mites though. I think you're on to something, brilliant idea.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Varroa birth control pill

    Change the DNA of varroa so they can't transmit viruses...
    Change the DNA of varroa so a female cannot lay a male egg...

    Research (links below) has targeted reproduction in the female mosquito to combat malaria

    http://www.npr.org/sections/health-s...out-mosquitoes
    http://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/v3...tcallback=true
    Zone 7a - 1650ft

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Varroa birth control pill

    Even if CRISPR may not be applicable to varroa, I like a statement made in the first link:

    "Many scientists think gene drives could have their biggest impact on agriculture. Gene drives might, for example, enable researchers to quickly transform entire crops so that farmers don't need to use polluting pesticides."
    Zone 7a - 1650ft

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Varroa birth control pill

    Quote Originally Posted by Spur9 View Post
    Change the DNA of varroa so a female cannot lay a male egg...

    Lets say that change was able to be implemented ... ... What happens then?

    If there is no male offspring in the capped cell, then the female offspring would not get mated. And then she could not reproduce. While that might sound good, how would you spread this characteristic throughout the entire varroa population? If those female offspring cannot reproduce, then the "altered" DNA varroa dies out in one generation, but still leaving "regular varroa" in place, reproducing as they do now. I don't see that as much different than just killing those offspring with a pesticide, which is where we are right now.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Varroa birth control pill

    I wonder what would happen if there was some method of wiping out varroa completely (you know it wouldn't only be used in non-native habitats). I wonder what disease/pest might turn up because the mite is gone and we were not aware of some purpose the mite served? Hard as it is to imagine varroa serving any purpose (other than to kill bees), all creation tends to serve some purpose - sometimes we don't know what it is until we have messed it up. - - - No, I am not rooting for the mites

    Messing around with DNA/gene editing is usually a gamble at best. It isn't at all like the media and scientist interviews makes it out to look. They have many methods but basically they have to run the process on a good number of subjects (say 100s or 1000s), from that they may get a handful (or less) or subjects that have the desired (i.e. hoped for) trait change. It is made to sound like they know exactly what they are doing and they just flip a few "switches" and done - - not quite. I think the "best" so far was a human embryo gene editing (ahhahh something most of us were yelling no about just a few years ago). I don't recall the exact numbers but it was (statistically speaking) pretty fair something like 70%-80% or something?

    As for a varroa birth control pill - probably have a bunch of people screaming about bug reproductive rights. U.S.S. More-ull sunk a while back.

    I very much doubt any major breakthrough is coming soon (we still have colds, malaria, etc.). I do think though there is currently methods to control the varroa birth rate - dead varroa do not lay many eggs.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Varroa birth control pill

    Colonel species; there is no significant outside breeding, brother and sister mate inside the cell.

    >Change the DNA of varroa so a female cannot lay a male egg...

    How do you breed an infertile mite?

    >Change the DNA of varroa so they can't transmit viruses...

    This new mites would need to be immune to many bee disease not just DWV. It would also need to outbreed and displace the mite that is already there, create a more prolific mite. Then if you were successful your new more prolific disease free mite could very well out breed the bee population and simply kill the bee larva by having too many foundress mites enter each cell. Right now too many mites per cell usually means death of the bee larva and fewer offspring raised which can control the mite population, a disease free mite may not kill the larva as easily enabling more foundress mites into each cell and more offspring raised.


    "Might be easier just to incorporate TF or VHS traits in to your apiary."

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Varroa birth control pill

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    Lets say that change was able to be implemented ... ... What happens then?

    If there is no male offspring in the capped cell, then the female offspring would not get mated. And then she could not reproduce. While that might sound good, how would you spread this characteristic throughout the entire varroa population? If those female offspring cannot reproduce, then the "altered" DNA varroa dies out in one generation, but still leaving "regular varroa" in place, reproducing as they do now. I don't see that as much different than just killing those offspring with a pesticide, which is where we are right now.
    That saved me a post. +1

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Varroa birth control pill

    There appears to be a chemical/substance that causes varroa mite sterility when bee pupae touches mite poop - see study at post #7. Whoever discovered the chemical(s) preventing human contraception (temporarily while taking the "pill") made millions -- I just wish I had the scientific background to figure out what chemical causes permanent varroa mite sterility -- it should create a mini-fortune for the lucky scientist. Presuming it had no ill effects on bees, the chemical would ultimately eliminate any mite infestation over a period of time as non-mother mite(s) produce no offspring - repeatedly, and then die from grooming, phoretic based treatments, or old age. Dreams sometimes come true! A good ol' poison will probably be more sure than a DNA-based roll of the dice!

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Varroa birth control pill

    I guess you can't edit your post once someone else posts or after a certain time.
    Wanted to fix my gene editing percentages.... Thought when I typed it something was wrong - seemed high, so wanted to correct it.

    Apparently the best so far is 6% success, so a giant dice roll

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