More and more media outlets are tracking threats to the worlds honeybee population. Its a compelling problem, and its implications for agricultural producers in particular and the environment in general are staggering.

Research efforts at West Virginia University led by Professor Jim Amrine are showing real promise for protecting the health of honeybee colonies.

Amrine, an entomologist and one of the nations foremost mite specialists, has been developing an inexpensive, low-impact treatment strategy for honeybee colonies infested with destructive varroa mites.

The techniques are designed to kill or deter the maximum number of mites while having very little impact on the bee colony. Another aim of the treatment is to limit the mitesability to develop a resistance to substances used against them. While conventional chemical pesticides and their methods of application can become ineffective through repeated applications, these new methods seem to have greater longevity.

Amrine has worked closely with a number of beekeepers in the region, notably Bob Noel of western Maryland, to develop these techniques and test their effectiveness on affected honeybee colonies. Hes worked with beekeepers across the United States and in Europe, and the results have been very promising.Florida State Beekeepers named him researcher of the year in 2006. Amrine also incorporates these techniques into his apiculture (beekeeping) course at WVU , introducing his students to concepts of applied research.

Amrines renown as an acarologist (mite specialist) is worldwide. Hes one of the authors of what many feel is the defining mite guide,Revised Keys to the World Genera of Eriophyoidea(Acari: Prostigmata). The International Journal of Acrology has named a fellowship in his honor, the James W. Amrine Fellowship.Hes a sought-after presenter and educator on the subject of beekeeping, and contributes time and expertise to industry groups, producers and hobbyists.

Amrine is available for media interviews on his research, treatment techniques and the honeybee population threat.He can be reached at 304-293-6023, or jamrine2@wvu.edu .