Varroa destructor is a mite, about 1.1 millimeter long, that lives as a parasite on honey bees. The mite, belonging to spiders, develops and reproduces on the capped brood in the hive.
The parasitic mite originates from Asia, from where, with the exception of Australia, it has spread all over the world.
Especially the shipping of bee colonies and queens has favoured this rapid spread.
The Varroa mite is considered to be a main cause of the worldwide occurrence of bee mortality. The flat body, numerous adhesive bristles and specialized suckers on the feet enable the parasite to hold itself securely on the body of the bees and larvae.
In addition pathogenic viruses can penetrate through bite wounds caused by the mites and thus kill whole bee colonies.
Varroa females favour nursery bees that carry them to the brood on which the mite reproduces.Thus, the young bees are already weakened during emergence and usually die shortly afterward.