Unmet Need: Effective controlling agents for Varroa mites
Varroa mites are a devastating parasite considered the top driver of honey bee colony losses over the past several decades. Products for varroa control are desperately needed. The general idea of using entomopathogenic fungi to control Varroa mites had been explored previously. However, none of the available fungal strains performed well enough to become commercially viable.
The Technology: Use of Metarhizium brunneum as the controlling agent.
Researchers at WSU have developed methods to transform the fungus through directed evolution into a more effective mite control agent. This evolved strain has increased thermotolerance and effectively kills more varroa mites per dose as compared to conventional strains.
• As a control agent to kill Varroa mites in Honeybees.
• Increased thermotolerance.
• Causes more Varroa deaths per single dose/treatment.
• Spores capable of germination persist for three times longer in hives.