Mites: Controlling

music
ambience: sound of bees in hive

Insect biologists are turning to the plant world for new compounds which could help save North American honeybees from a destructive parasite. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Dr. Joel Coats and his colleagues at the University of Iowa are examining oils derived from plants and trees. Compounds found in these essential oils act as natural pesticides. Some have been proven to kill the ravenous Verroa mite which threatens to destroy honeybee populations across the United States.

“They’re naturally occurring compounds in the plants. The best ones we have are from laurel, and bay, and myrtle, and that class of plants.”

The Iowa researchers have isolated chemicals from other common plants such as mint, cedar, and eucalyptus. They’re searching for just the right chemical – one which will kill the mites but leave the bee colony unharmed.

“We’ve been treating fiber ropes with material, and then just suspending two of those ropes in the hive, and they come in contact with it in their activities and it spreads among the bees that way.”

Many of the substances being tested have already been approved for use in food products, or as fragrances, meaning that they should be safe for beekeepers to handle.

“These are very biodegradable compounds, very short-lived, and so that in the environment I see no residue problems and very little effect on any other non-target species.”

Joel Coats and his team hope that these new plant based chemicals might someday replace existing pesticides which can seep into water supplies and contaminate the food chain.

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

music

Mites: Controlling

Scientists are testing botanical compounds to help control honeybee mites.
Air Date:10/07/2011
Scientist:
Transcript:

music
ambience: sound of bees in hive

Insect biologists are turning to the plant world for new compounds which could help save North American honeybees from a destructive parasite. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Dr. Joel Coats and his colleagues at the University of Iowa are examining oils derived from plants and trees. Compounds found in these essential oils act as natural pesticides. Some have been proven to kill the ravenous Verroa mite which threatens to destroy honeybee populations across the United States.

"They're naturally occurring compounds in the plants. The best ones we have are from laurel, and bay, and myrtle, and that class of plants."

The Iowa researchers have isolated chemicals from other common plants such as mint, cedar, and eucalyptus. They're searching for just the right chemical - one which will kill the mites but leave the bee colony unharmed.

"We've been treating fiber ropes with material, and then just suspending two of those ropes in the hive, and they come in contact with it in their activities and it spreads among the bees that way."

Many of the substances being tested have already been approved for use in food products, or as fragrances, meaning that they should be safe for beekeepers to handle.

"These are very biodegradable compounds, very short-lived, and so that in the environment I see no residue problems and very little effect on any other non-target species."

Joel Coats and his team hope that these new plant based chemicals might someday replace existing pesticides which can seep into water supplies and contaminate the food chain.

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.

music