How many mites does it take to cause a virus?
A virus is a nucleic acid molecule and attaches to a host cell and replicates thousands, if not millions of times, so it takes one Varroa to cause a pathogen or virus!
Is a virus contagious?
All viruses are contagious by nature but some are specific and affect certain or specific hosts, not all living cells are compatible with all viruses.
How is 1 or 2 percent mite counts acceptable if 1 mite can cause a contagious virus?
It is not acceptable but this is taught everywhere, and that in part is the reason we have such colony loses every year.
In a colony of 50,000 bees, 1 or 2 percent mite counts equal 152.1 to 305 total mites anyone of which or all can cause a contagious honey bee disease.
How many viruses do Varroa mites cause?
Though not well understood, it is believed that Varroa can cause up to twenty different contagious viruses and pathogens in a colony of honey bees. It is also believed that some of these viruses and pathogens may be transmitted from colony to colony via a drone or worker vector.
Pathogens are readily transmitted from bee to bee during the feeding process or fecal clean-up of diseased bees.
The basis for this article is to try to convince the reader it is by far better to be proactive in our war on Varroa than to take the wait and see approach of doing mite counts, which is tantamount to a death watch. You (will) do one of three things about Varroa, quit, buy bees, or treat, your choice.
It is what we know, after we know it is all that really counts.