Mikheyev Group - Evolutionary genomics

ANU Bee Lab

Bee projects

Australian bee observation network (ABON)

Varroa mites (Varroa destructor) are parasites that have decimated honey bee populations around the world. Much of our work has involved using the mite-bee relationship to study fundamental processes in evolution, particularly host-pathogen dynamics. These mites were discovered in Australia in 2022 and have now become established. By being the last continent to be invaded, Australia has a unique opportunity to study the impacts of Varroa on honey bees and coevolution between hosts and pathogens more generally. We have launched a citizen science campaign to collect data on honey bees before and after Varroa. You can find more information on the ANU College of Science website.

Funded Ph.D. positions to study bees

We have two funded Ph.D. projects available via the CSIRO iPhD program, which come with a generous stipend and research funds. One of the projects involves data analysis from the ABON project, and the other aims to breed native stingless bees to become better pollinators. If you are an Australian/New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, please contact Sasha Alexander Mikheyev.

Other projects

Lord Howe Island stick insect conservation

Working together with Zoos Victoria, we have been engaged in key genetic work on the conservation of the Lord Howe Island stick insect (Dryococelus australis), a critically endangered animal that was exterminated on its home island by rats. It now exists in captivity and on a tiny outcrop near Lord Howe Island. Recently, the rats have been exterminated and there are exciting opportunities to reintroduce the stick insects back to their native habitat.


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A bee

As Varroa spreads, now is the time to fight for Australia’s honey bees – and you can help

Story | Tuesday 27 February 2024
We have a small and vanishing window to collect bees before the inevitable rapid spread of the varroa mites, and the mass die-offs, occur.

Australia is in a unique position to eliminate the bee-killing Varroa mite. Here’s what happens if we don’t

Story | Wednesday 24 May 2023
While Australia is the last continent to be invaded by the vorroa mite, it has an opportunity to be the first to eradicate it.

Big brains bring change: Inside the social life of spiders

Story | Monday 28 November 2022
While most spiders are creatures of solitude, a study involving researchers from ANU has found some species have become more gregarious.  
Peiyu Yuan

Summer Research Scholar Peiyu Yuan asks "What happened to the Rocky Mountain locust?"

Story | Tuesday 7 May 2019
We may be in the middle of an insect mass extinction. The once abundant Rocky Mountain locust was last seen in 1902. Under the Mikheyev Group, Peiyu Yuan used data from a related extant locust species and comparative genomics to identify artifacts in museum data of the Rocky Mountain locust.

Sasha Mikheyev

Story | Thursday 2 August 2018
Sasha Mikheyev's lab uses technological advances, largely in sequencing, to understand how organisms respond to biotic changes in their environments.
Recorded EE Seminar - R. Manjunatha Kini

E&E Seminar: Importance of careful and systematic observations in basic and applied research

Event | Thu 19 October 2023
Toxins are thought as villains as they cause death and debilitation. In reality, they have contributed more to improving our lives than cause death.
Seminar - Oliver Stuart

E&E PhD Exit Seminar: Evolution and ecology of the critically endangered Dryococelus australis in captivity

Event | Fri 23 June 2023
As climate change and land transformation advance into the future, more and more species will be unable to keep up with the rate of change imposed by human activity.

At the origin of a global invasion: the honey bee parasite Varroa that keeps on jumping

Event | Tue 26 February 2019

Varroa mites are ectoparasites infesting honeybee colonies and originally found only in Asia.