Re: Do Mites Cause Absconding?
Have you read or heard Dr Samuel Ramsey's presentation on mites? It's off the OP of absconding but does provide a potential exacerbating factor in a rapid decline. His research is showing the mites are not truly phoretic (aka a benign passenger), we already knew that but he's scientifically proving the how and what the mites are parasiting.
Specifically, the mites are feasting on the fat (vitellogenin) rather than the blood (haemolymph). Getting rid of the fat doesn't sound like a big deal, except for the bees it's more of an organ than just some cells laying around. Per Randy Oliver's definition, "Vitellogenin is used by other animals as an egg yolk protein precursor, but bees have made it much more important in their physiology and behavior, using it additionally as a food storage reservoir in their bodies, to synthesize royal jelly, as an immune system component, as a “fountain of youth” to prolong queen and forager lifespan, as well as functioning as a hormone that affects future foraging behavior!"
The point being a heavy mite load depleting the vitellogenin undermines the whole population stability, the loss is virtually invisible to the beekeeper and enables a slight decline to become a landslide very quickly.
And just to complete my spin off into the deep end, the mites use external digestion where they secrete "juices" into the bees abdomen and suck out the good stuff. Once the mite has significantly robbed (but not killed) the bee, it will climb from the abdomen and find another host, i.e. a mite riding on a bee (frequently shown in pictures) has either just arrived on the bee or is leaving a sinking ship.
Last edited by Eikel; 07-22-2018 at 06:04 AM.
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