Varroa destructor, Varroa jacobsoni
The Varroa mite is currently one of the most serious problems affecting honey bee health. Its effect has been so severe that in many regions honey bees would have been virtually wiped out if not treated regularly. The mite transferred from the Asian honey bee over forty years ago and reached Europe in the 1970s and spread to the USA in 1987. Initially there were a number of synthetic treatments for the mite.
In some cases, however, resistance developed to some of these products and it has been recently discovered that residue from many of these synthetic treatments builds up in the beeswax which has been possibly linked to poor bee health. As a result, beekeepers are moving towards using natural products which are becoming more available and efficacious in dealing with the mite. No single product, whether synthetic or natural, will completely eliminate the mite so careful Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is needed .