An advert placed by WUR in the national newspaper NRC Handelsblad on 6 April suggests that researchers selected bees that are resistant to the varroa mite. This is misleading information for readers and beekeepers.
Beekeeper and emeritus WUR professor Pim Brascamp has written a letter on the matter to Resource, which has been posted on the website. Brascamp explains that WUR selects bees that have increased resilience, but they are not resistant. WUR combines this with a tried-and-tested beekeeping method of splitting beehives in spring, which disrupts the varroa mites’ development. This is not strictly speaking ‘resistance’ – a term that most readers understand to mean 100 percent resistance under all conditions, according to Brascamp.
Wageningen bee researcher Tjeerd Blacquière, who performed the study discussed in the advert, admits that 'his’ bees do not have 100 per cent resistance. He did manage to obtain ‘a considerable increase in their resistance’. Blacquière also mentions that the increased resistance is not related to the method of splitting beehives.