Dr. Sam Ramsey joins us again to share what he has found from his most recent work on Tropilaelaps mites in Thailand. He has been looking at the history of this mite’s movement around the world, the biology and its life cycle. Just as...
Dr. Sam Ramsey joins us again to share what he has found from his most recent work on Tropilaelaps mites in Thailand. He has been looking at the history of this mite’s movement around the world, the biology and its life cycle. Just as important he is exploring the differences and the similarities of the Tropilaelaps to the Varroa mite. His work points out why this pest is so very difficult to control with chemicals, why it is so genetically diverse, what helps it adapt quickly to new control tactics and why populations build so fast in the colonies it infests.
His work was interrupted by the spread of Covid-19 around the world and he had to return home this spring. We were able to catch up with Sammy while he is back in Maryland, exploring the possibility of making honey bee larvae produce fat bodies without the necessary proteins that varroa need to develop. Meanwhile, he is looking forward to going back to Thailand and picking up where he dropped off.
Listen today and you will understand why the Tropilaelaps is a far greater threat than the varroa ever has been.
You can listen to Sammy's talk with us about the varroa mite and the honey bee fat body during our Season 1 visit with him by clicking here.
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Podcast music: Young Presidents, "Be Strong"
Samuel Ramsey's enduring interest in insect biology started 23 years ago and shows no signs of waning. Having earned his doctorate from Dr. Dennis vanEngelsdorp's lab at the University of Maryland; Dr. Ramsey maintains a focus on how insect research can benefit the public through the development of IPM strategies and STEM-based outreach initiatives. His award-winning research on Varroa biology has changed the standing paradigm on how this parasite ultimately kills honey bees leading to opportunities to share his work nationally and internationally. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Entomology from Cornell University in 2011 focusing his research on predator/parasite behavior.
His current work, aptly named the Fight the Mite Initiative, was funded largely by the beekeeping community. It focuses on the poorly understood Tropilaelaps mite which is rapidly establishing itself as the next threat to apiculture globally. Prior to the pandemic he was based in Thailand documenting the behavior, lifecycle, and vulnerabilities of this parasite, ensuring that in the event of its arrival in the US, we'll have the knowledge and resources to respond effectively.