Varroa destructor is a parasite of the Asian honey bee, Apis cerana. Thanks to international trade, it has found a new host in Apis mellifera, our European honey bee. The varroa mite first arrived in Switzerland in 1984, where - as in all the other countries it has invaded - it kills affected colonies in 1 to 3 years. It is therefore necessary to treat these colonies annually in order to ensure their survival. The vast majority of colonies that are inadequately treated, or not treated at all, are doomed to die.
The Swiss Bee Research Centre has been gathering knowledge on the biology of the varroa mite, with a view to implementing effective control methods. Intensive research has led to the development of new alternative control strategies adapted to central European conditions. These research programmes continue with a view to developing ever-more-effective control methods. To enable beekeepers to apply these methods with success, it is essential that they be taught how to use the applied active substances - a service which we provide in collaboration with the Bee Health Service.