Zoom Presentation: Dr. Frank Rinkevich

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Zoom Presentation: Dr. Frank Rinkevich

Tuesday, April 16 @ 7:30 PM 9:00 PM

Dr. Rinkevich is a Research Entomologist at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Baton Rouge. He’ll give a talk on Sustainable Miticide Use and Varroa Control.

The parasitic mite Varroa destructor is among the most important and universal factors that result in poor honey bee colony performance and survival. While many methods of Varroa control exist, miticide application is the most widely used Varroa management practice. However, over use and over reliance on miticides such as those containing amitraz as the only Varroa management tool has resulted in the development of miticide resistance. Current research shows about 1/3 of beekeeping operations have Varroa with amitraz resistance levels that allow them to escape control via amitraz application. Genetic studies have shown a mutation in the receptor for amitraz is responsible for amitraz resistance in Varroa. This allows for more widespread and rapid testing of resistance by using genotyping studies. Using field testing and genetic studies, the level of amitraz resistance is increasing across the US. Therefore, it is important to find new methods for Varroa control. The Baton Rouge USDA Honey Bee Lab has bred bees for Varroa resistance and has demonstrated they are a viable tool for Varroa management. We will discuss use of resistant stock and other new research developments that show promise to reduce the impacts of Varroa on honey bees.

Dr. Frank D. Rinkevich is a Research Entomologist at the USDA-ARS Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Laboratory in Baton Rouge LA. Frank has extensive training in insect toxicology, biochemistry, molecular biology, and genetics. The goal of Dr. Frank’s research is to provide a basic understanding of pesticide toxicology that is relevant to field conditions in the commercial beekeeping industry. The major focus of Dr. Rinkevich’s research is amitraz resistance in the honey bee parasite, Varroa destructor. This project determining the prevalence and distribution of amitraz resistance in Varroa destructor, developing an international cooperative network for resistance monitoring with bioassays and genotyping, understanding the amitraz use patterns that lead to amitraz resistance, evaluating management practices to overcome amitraz resistant Varroa, and identifying new miticides. Other research interests include evaluating the effects of pesticide exposure on colony survivorship in commercial beekeeping operations, assessing metabolic detoxification of insecticides, establishing the effects of fungicides on colony health, and evaluating the performance of honey bee stocks selected for low Varroa populations in commercial beekeeping conditions.