The Bees and Birds: The impact of Varroa on ecosystem functioning of semi natural woodland

The Bees and Birds: The impact of Varroa on ecosystem functioning of semi natural woodland

Project Title: The Bees and Birds: The impact of Varroa on ecosystem functioning of semi natural woodland

Funding Body: IRCSET

Period: October 2009 - September 2012

Researcher: Tadeusz Kirakowski

Project Description

Varroa destructor, an introduced parasitic mite of the native honey bee Apis mellifera mellifera was first recorded in Ireland in 1998. Varroa mites weaken Honey bees and facilitate the spread disease (e.g. deformed wing virus) in Honey bee colonies leading to the death of colonies over the winter. Over the past ten years Varroasis has destroyed feral Honey bee populations throughout Ireland.

A number of semi-natural forest areas in South West Ireland have been identified from which feral Honey bee colonies have disapeared. The facility to replace these colonies of Honey bees with bees of the same subspecies kept in hives (in which Varroa can be controlled), creates a fascinating research opportunity to study the role of native honey bees in the ecology of semi-natural woodlands.

Environmental Research Institute

University College Cork, Lee Road, Cork

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