Project Varroa Ring Test

The Ricola foundation supports a large-scale European Ring Test on Varroa destructor.

The parasitic mite Varroa destructor is the main threat to survival of European honeybees. For >20 years, breeding efforts have not achieved that honeybee colonies survive infestations without the need for mite control. Interestingly, three populations of European honeybees have achieved this naturally (in Ås/Kløfta (Norway), Avignon (France) and Uppsala (Sweden) red dots) and are surviving for >10 years without mite treatments.

This large-scale Ring Test involving 7 institutes (yellow dots) will answer the question whether these bees retain their ability to survive mite infestation when transported to a different environment.
Given that the bees are also able to survive without mite treatment in a new environment, strong genetics are at the basis of resistance and future breeding should use them. If, however, the relocated colonies do not survive, then local bees should always be used by beekeepers for breeding programs.

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