March 26, 2019

Sam Ramsey: Varroa Mites

Varroa destructor feeds exclusively on the hemolymph (or blood) of adult and immature bees”. It’s considered to be such an obvious fact that it often goes without citation now in scientific papers. But there is very little if any experimental support for this universally accepted conclusion. My project, in partnership with the USDA and Project Apis m, has shown that Varroa are actually feeding on a very different tissue, the fat body, leading to a diverse combination of health impacts that have never been fully explained by feeding on hemolymph alone. With a better understanding of how this parasite impacts its host, we can develop novel forms of control and new methods to remediate the health issues common to infected colonies.

About the Speaker

Dr. Samuel Ramsey’s enduring interest in entomology started over 20 years ago and shows no signs of waning. Having completed his PhD in 2018 with Dr. Dennis vanEngelsdorp’s lab at the University of Maryland, College Park; Ramsey tries to maintain a focus on how insect research can benefit the public through development of IPM strategies and STEM outreach initiatives. Ramsey studied entomology at Cornell University as an undergraduate focusing on Predatory/Parasitic insect behavior. His current work focuses on the effects of honey bee parasites on individual and colony level survivorship specifically targeting Varroa destructor and Nosema ceranae.