Wetenschap - 6 juni 2002

English summary

The long-discussed creation of an interfaculty between Wageningen and Utrecht came to a halt this week.

The board of Utrecht University is of the opinion that Wageningen University has shown too little confidence in the plans for formal cooperation between the animal science departments, and that after two years of talks had started to change the criteria. Chairman of the board in Wageningen Professor Aalt Dijkhuizen denies this, but says that Wageningen had asked for two months extra to clear up remaining obstacles: the relatively new Animal Expertise Group here needs strengthening; whether cooperation will attract more students is unclear; the Utrecht faculty is four times the size of the one here and Dijkuizen is worried that Wageningen is likely to be the weaker partner when it comes to money; animal research groups here have more in common with biology-oriented groups and suspect they may become isolated in an interfaculty; finally representative advisory bodies in the two establishments are organised differently. Informal cooperation is likely to continue on the same footing as in the past.

Two rowers from the Wageningen Argo team became national champions last weekend at the Dutch Championship in Amsterdam.

Eelke Westra and Michiel van Eupen won the coxless pairs race. They were also part of the winning eights team. Over 40 teams took part, but Westra and Van Eupen dominated their race from the start. The two are already assured of a place in the World Cup in Belgium and, if Holland makes it, also of a place in the World Championships in Spain.

The Bee Research Unit of Applied Plant Research has come up with new recommendations for fighting Varroa mite infestations of bees.

The Varroa mite has become resistant to chemicals such as Apistan. Bee researchers suggest two alternative strategies: placing drone combs in the hives in spring, and placing a vaporiser with formic acid solution in the hives in autumn. The Varroa mite prefers immature male bees, the drone pupae, and the researchers believe that by placing an extra drone comb in the hive beekeepers will be able to attract 90 to 95 percent of the mites on to these and them remove them before the bees go into production. Formic acid vapour kills the mites, but can only be used once the honey has already been collected.

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