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Yugoslavian Bees Resist Damaging Mites

June 15, 1993

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Yugoslavian bees are being released by the Agricultural Research Service to three U.S. honey bee breeders for propagation and sale to queen bee producers.

Each company will receive about 40 queens that can pass along resistance to varroa and tracheal mites, said Thomas F. Rinderer, head of the ARS Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics and Physiology Laboratory in Baton Rouge, La.

A stock release panel comprised of ARS and industry representatives selected Hybri-Bees Inc. of LaBelle, Fla., Taber’s Honey Bee Genetics of Vacaville, Calif., and John Klapac & Co. of Frederick, Md., to propagate the bees.

Rinderer said the Yugoslavian bees are the first insects that the ARS has ever released for breeding.

″These queens will be sold to queen breeders. We’ve already had more than 100 queen breeders express interest in buying them,″ he said in a recent announcement that the three companies had been selected to maintain the Yugoslavian bee stock.

The two mites have caused extensive losses since they were discovered in the United States in the mid-1980s. The mites are a serious agricultural threat because bees pollinate billions of dollars worth of crops each year as they move among plants searching for nectar and pollen.

The Yugoslavian bees have been under study since 1984 in a joint project of ARS scientists and researchers in the former Yugoslavia.

The bees are twice as resistant to varroa mites as susceptible domestic bees but would still require some chemicals to control severe outbreaks of varroa mites, Rinderer said.

But the Yugoslavian bees are so resistant to tracheal mites that chemical controls for that pest probably would not be needed, Rinderer said.

He estimated that the resistant stock could save beekeepers $2 per colony in tracheal mite treatments.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Raisin and sultana production in the 1992-93 crop year is estimated to be up 1 percent in the seven principal producing countries due to larger crops in the United States, Turkey, Mexico and Chile.

Smaller crops are expected in Australia, Greece and South Africa, according to a report this month on horticultural products by the Foreign Agricultural Service.

Consumption in the seven countries, however, is expected to increase by 5 percent, the report said.

″Despite the higher production, and because of higher domestic consumption and slightly higher exports, stock levels at year’s end will decrease slightly, to about 37 percent of average production, from last year’s 38 percent,″ the report said.

″The world market in general is experiencing declining economic conditions, which continue to adversely affect raisin trade,″ the report said.

It noted that ″U.S. raisins are premium quality and priced higher than most other raisins, and consumers are buying fewer, or switching to lower- quality and lower-priced raisins from other countries.″

U.S. raisin production in 1992 is up 10 percent from the previous year, the report said. Domestic consumption is expected to increase 1.5 percent and exports to decline somewhat.

″This should cause a slight increase in stocks to about 57 percent of production,″ the report said.

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