The two haplotypes of Varroa destructor that have been identified as parasites of the Western honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) show disparate levels of virulence towards honeybee colonies. The Korea haplotype has been associated with severe colony mortality, whereas untreated colonies of European A. mellifera have survived long-term infestation by the Japan haplotype. The possible existence of a benign haplotype of V. destructor raises the prospect that it be used to “inoculate” colonies to provide biocontrol of the virulent haplotype.
Recent concern that honey bees may threaten natural areas by increasing weed abundances through increased pollination was investigated by reviewing the literature to determine which weed taxa surveyed from New Zealand Protected Natural Areas (PNAs) are visited by honey bees. The contribution made by honey bees to weed reproduction was assessed by checking reproductive strategies and pollination mechanisms of a subset of problem weeds. A substantial proportion of surveyed weeds in PNAs are probably visited by honey bees (43%) including half of the problem weeds.
Honeydew, the sugary exudate of the scale insect Ultracoelostoma brittini, is an important food source in black beech (Nothofagus solandri var. solandri) forests in the South Island of New Zealand. Two of the most prominent foragers of honeydew are honey bees (Apis mellifera) and wasps (Vespula germanica and V. vulgaris). Observations in the field and using a captive bee hive were used to investigate competition between bees and wasps feeding on honeydew.