Bayer CropScience announced that it has acquired a product for the efficient control of varroa mites (Varroa destructor) from Exosect Ltd., Winchester, United Kingdom. The market launch of this new bee health product in the United States is planned for 2011. First registrations in major European countries are expected from 2012 onwards. The acquisition also enables Bayer CropScience to develop innovative bee health solutions and to commercialize new bee health products worldwide. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The product is based on the innovative Entostat™ technology, a food grade powder refined from a natural wax which is sustainably harvested from a particular species of palm tree, combined with the miticidal active ingredient thymol. After being spread directly onto the top of the frames, bees start to clean the powder out of the hive. It adheres to their bodies via electrostatic attraction. As they move throughout the hive, the powder is distributed to other bees and onto the framework of the hive, including open brood cells.

"Bayer is aware of its responsibility as a producer both of crop protection products and of bee health products”, said Dr. Franz-Josef Placke, Head of Development at Bayer CropScience. “Therefore, we are investing in research and development to provide beekeepers with sustainable solutions to improve the health of their bees and beehives.”

"Exosect is delighted to have finalized the research and trials required for a regulatory data package”, commented Martin Brown, Exosect´s Managing Director. “Our patented platform technology, Entostat™ powder, has a huge potential and we believe that Bayer CropScience is very well placed to bring new products based on this innovative technology to market”, Brown added.

Varroa destructor is a relatively new parasite of the honey bee and has spread to most areas of the world within a short time period. The varroa mite is considered a crucial factor in the decreasing number of honey bee colonies in Europe and North America.