Access keys

Skip to content Accessibility Home News, events and publications Site map Search Privacy policy Help Contact us Terms of use

Impact Writing Competition 2019: Using Coordinated Varroa Treatments to Improve Honey Bee Health

In 2019, BBSRC launched its first Impact Writing Competition, providing an opportunity for PhD students and early-career researchers to put their writing skills to the test, and encouraging them think about the impacts of bioscience research. Entrants were invited to write a case study for a policy audience, showcasing the social or economic impacts of BBSRC activities and investments. The entries were assessed by a panel of experts in science writing, who considered their success in demonstrating the impacts of BBSRC investments in an engaging way.

The following case study, written by Luke Woodford, was selected as winner of the Impact Writing Competition 2019.

Varroa destructor is a parasitic mite that lives on the bodies of honey bees, feeding on their fat and haemolymph (a bloodlike substance in invertebrates). The mite was originally a parasite of the Asian honey bee, Apis cerana, before jumping host to the European honey bee, Apis mellifera. As humans have moved colonies of European honey bees around the world, they have facilitated the spread of the mite, which is now found on every large landmass in the world, except Australia. But it isn’t only the mite itself that presents a challenge for beekeepers worldwide: Varroa acts as a vector for several highly pathogenic viruses, most notably Deformed Wing Virus (DWV). Together, the mite and the virus are responsible for over 25% of colony losses every year and represent one of the biggest threats to honey bee survival on a global scale.

Read the full case study: