Using sensors to detect Varroa destructor

Using sensors to detect Varroa destructor

Honeybee colony health and survival can be significantly impacted by the parasitic mite Varroa destructor, which feeds on honeybee larvae, pupae and adults. Varroa can spread disease, and large infestations can lead to colony death.

Researchers at Nottingham Trent University are working to determine whether the presence of Varroa in honeybee colonies can be detected remotely, in order to reduce the need for regular hive inspections which are disruptive.

The researchers used accelerometers to record Varroa destructor vibrations in the laboratory between August and December 2019. They found that the mites did produce strong detectable vibrations, including a pulse created by a ‘jolting’ behaviour.

The researchers are now working to determine whether these vibrations can be detected within in a real honeybee colony. They hope the technology could be used to notify beekeepers of mite presence within hives.

Find out more in this fantastic video.

Read the full paper:
Hall, H., Bencsik, M., Newton, M.I., Chandler, D., Prince, G. and Dwyer, S. (2022) Varroa destructor mites regularly generate ultra-short, high magnitude vibrational pulses. Entomologia Generalis, Vol. 42 (2022), Issue 3, 375–388 DOI: 10.1127/entomologia/2021/1407

Banner image:
Varrora on honeybee drones.
Copyright: Waugsberg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0