Varroa Mites Biggest Threat to Iowa Bees

Jun 4, 2015

Late last month, the White House released a strategy to try to protect pollinators, aiming to grow bee populations across the country in the next 10 years. As a part of that plan, there’s been talk of limiting pesticide use and developing products to help beekeepers combat the varroa mite.

According to Iowa’s state apiarist Andrew Joseph, the varroa mite is the biggest threat to Iowa’s bee populations. “This is a parasitic mite that gets into our hives. If you keep bees, you’ve got varroa mites as well. It’s a management issue. Bees are not capable to handle them on their own, and unfortunately the majority of beekeepers are not managing varroa mites. They are doing physical damages and are spreading a variety of other maladies through our hives.”  

During this River to River segment, host Ben Kieffer talks with Joseph and Jerry Hayes, who heads bee research for Monsanto. Hayes says the company is working on new methods to help bee keepers fight the varroa mite.