Varroa mites feeding on a sick bee
Rebecca Wilson, a beekeeper in southwestern Florida, sent me this photo of a honey bee crippled with deformed wing virus (DWV) and saddled with two Varroa mites. There were actually three mites to start with, but one fell off before she got a photo. I think the scene is heartbreaking and morbidly fascinating at the same time. And for those who’ve never seen mites or DWV, it’s a great illustration. Varroa mites carry deformed wing virus from bee to bee, transmitting it through their bite.
Some of us from the association were out at the club apiary last Sunday to apply mite treatments (gotta love the schedule in SWFL!) and we knew one of our hives definitely had mites. A new beekeeper that I am mentoring was with us, and I spotted this bee on the side of that hive, noticing the deformed wing virus right away, and plucked her up to show to my mentoree . . . and three mites were on her! I managed to get a few photos. While I was holding the poor bee to grab my camera, one of the mites climbed off her onto my glove. Eww!