USDA will provide two types of parasite-resistant honeybees to pollinate the White House garden this July.
Developed by USDA scientists, one of the bee varieties is resistant to the varroa mite, while the other is based on a strain of bees from Russia which is resistant to both varroa mites and tracheal mites, which infest bees’ breathing tubes.
According to the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, “These bees are also highly tolerant of cold weather and require less artificial feeding than typical honey bees.”
The first variety has a trait called “varroa-sensitive hygiene” which prompts worker bees to detect and remove infested bees from the nest, eliminating the need for pesticides to control the mites.
ARS said that demand for the bees is currently outstripping supply.