The deformed wing virus (DWV) carried by the mite is believed to be one of the reasons why bee numbers have halved in the UK in the last 25 years.
Now researchers at the Marine Biological Association (MBA) in Plymouth have solved the riddle of why one bee colony has survived despite high levels of infection by the virus, which wiped out its neighbours.
…They discovered that the survivors were infected by a different type of DWV, which the MBA scientists suggest is dominant and protected the bees against the lethal variety.
The lead researcher said the findings pointed to a natural solution to the colony collapse problem.
“It was great to see that through the process of natural selection, honey bees, Varroa and DWV were able to reach a stable state, with honey bee colonies able to survive without the use of a chemical Varroa treatment,” said Gideon Mordecai.