Honey bees play a crucial role in the human food chain. In a time of industrial agriculture, monocultures, and pesticides, many pollinators are in danger of becoming extinct. In this context, we want to ask what we can do to support honey bees to recover and to develop resilient populations.
Today one of the major threats for honey bee populations and a huge challenge for bee-keepers is the ecto-parasitic mite Varroa destructor. In the 80‘s this mite began to spread from Asia to Europe, Africa, and the Americas following the globalization. In many industrialized countries, the response was strict treatment to „save the bees“ – resulting in an ever-increasing dependency of the bee populations on bee-keepers.
In contrary, in regions where bees were mostly left by themselves, they quickly recovered and developed a resiliency. What is different in the living habitat of wild, “resistant” populations and what can we learn from them? What is our role and responsibility to support honey bees in the presence of the Varroa mite and other complex challenges?