A young bee attacked by Varroa mites.
Photo: © University of Hohenheim, Bettina Ziegelmann


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Hope for bee-keepers all over the world: for the first time, researchers at the University of Hohenheim have discovered a drug that can be administered through the feed, with the potential for freeing attacked bee stocks from the feared Varroa mite with little labour involved.

The Varroa mite is one of the most dangerous enemies of bees in the world: in just one to three years, it can completely eradicate a bee population. To date, bee-keepers have had to treat attacked bee stocks with aggressive organic acids or chemically produced mite control agents which involve resistance problems and residues. The promising substance now developed is lithium chloride, which is easily available.

After 25 years of research, a team at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany, have succeeded in developing a drug which can free bee stocks from the globally dangerous Varroa mite.

Lithium chloride is a cheap substance and easy to use against the dangerous mite; as far as researchers currently know it has no dangerous side effects for bees, bee-keepers or consumers, and is freely available in nature. It gives the research team an active substance for a drug which is easy to obtain and administer.

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