Narrator: This is Science Today. A tiny parasitic mite that destroys the lifecycle of honeybees may devastate the industry – costing the nation's fruit and nut farmers billions of dollars. Eric Mussen, a University of California, Davis Extension bee expert, says the pin-head sized mite, called the Varroa mite, is now resistant to all registered pesticides.
Mussen: When you use a material that kills nearly all of the pests that you hit, some escape because you missed them, but some escape because they have biochemistry that allows them to make it through that chemical treatment. And this isn't something that mutated – it's already there in the population. So over time, we actually select for those individuals, so the population becomes more resistant as we continue the treatment.
Narrator: Scientists are working to develop ways to biologically or chemically control these mites because without honeybees, the nation would lose about 14 billion dollars worth of crops.
Mussen: And your diet and my diet would change significantly because about a third of the food that we consume everyday is the product of honeybee pollination.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.