You may have already seen this. I think it augers well for the near term future. The way I read this is that they may have found the 'magic bullet' !
READ ON: (From the USDA)
Biological Control of Honeybee Varroa Mites
Objective: USDA-ARS is currently looking for a partner to help develop an economically viable technology to control Varroa mites in honeybee colonies. Varroa mites are parasitic mites that feed on honeybees causing weight loss, deformities, and reduced life span. They can also carry other diseases to honeybees.
Overview: Honeybees are of great economic importance to agriculture not only for honey production, but also for crop pollination. Honeybees pollinate a range of agricultural crops valued at more than $14.6 million including apples, cherries, broccoli, onions, peppers, cucumbers, alfalfa, almonds, coffee and more than 50 other crops. Varroa mites, which infest bee colonies, are a threat to the beekeeping industry. Without adequate control measures, mites can destroy almost an entire colony within a few months. This destructive mite is now present in colonies across the entire United States and most of North America.
Related Technology: ARS researchers have isolated and characterized a strain of the fungus Metarhizium anisopliae that is highly pathogenic to Varroa mites. In field/laboratory tests, they applied Metarhizium anisopliae spores to infected colonies using both dusts and strips coated with the fungus. Both application methods, which were applied at temperatures similar to that maintained in honeybee colonies, satisfactorily controlled mite populations in the colonies. These fungal treatments were as effective as the most widely used commercial Varroa mite treatment, even 42 days after application. In addition, the ARS fungal pathogen had no harmful effect on honeybees and did not affect the production of the queen.
Industry Type: The ideal partner should have expertise in manufacturing fungal biological control agents, and be able to contribute both intellectually and financially to the project.
Where: Southern Plains Area; USDA-ARS Beneficial Insects Research Unit in Weslaco, Texas.
Laboratory Mission: The mission of the Beneficial Insects Research Unit is to develop scientific knowledge and biologically-based technology that will enhance the role of natural enemies in managing key insect pests and weeds, and to develop technology for managing honey bees in the presence of Africanized honey bees, parasitic mites and other pests.
If your company is interested in learning more about this opportunity contact our regional technology transfer coordinator:
1201 Oakridge Drive, Suite 150
Fort Collins, CO firstname.lastname@example.org