A Plant-Based Chemical for Varroa Mite Control




Honeybee pollination is essential to agricultural production contributes an estimated $12.3 to $16.4 billion annually to U.S. crops. The Varroa destructor mite is the most serious honeybee pest in the world, contributing to over-wintering mortalities and colony collapse. Current treatments suffer from declining efficacy due to resistance as well as causing honeybee mortality at sufficient doses to reduce mite population. This technology utilizes a plant derived compound as a highly effective varroacide that has little effect on honeybees. This will significantly increase the effective tools available to beekeepers for mite control. Varroa weakens the immune systems of honey bees and transmits bee viruses such as deformed wing virus. Many chemicals used for varroa control (such as pyrethroid, organophosphates) also are toxic to honey bees, and mites also quickly adapt to them by becoming resistant. This makes it necessary to explore new methods for varroa control so that control measures can be rotated or combined to slow the development of resistance.


Description of Technology


Recent experiments have shown that a plant derived chemical has unexpectedly high efficacy against V. destructor with essentially no effect on bees, which makes it a powerful new tool for combatting mite infestations.  This chemical could be easily incorporated into commonly used plastic delivery strips either alone or stacked with other miticides to target resistant mite populations and reduce the threat of V. destructor to global agricultural yields.



  • Tough on mites: LD50 of just 20.16 ng/mite
  • Easy on bees: No observable mortality even at over 2000 ug /bee
  • Plant derived: Low cost, no chemical synthesis involved



  • Incorporate into plastic delivery strips as a new method for Varroa control
  • Stack with other commonly used miticides to target resistant populations


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Patent Information:


For Information, Contact:

Thomas Herlache
Assistant Director
Michigan State University