A tiny mite is being blamed for major honeybee losses in New York, threatening the state’s $500 million agriculture industry.

The varroa mite weakens honeybee colonies by feeding on bee blood and fat and transmitting viruses in colonies. One such virus, deformed wing virus, was found in all 70 beekeeping operations tested by Cornell University scientists.

90 percent of the apiaries showed signs of varroa mite infestation, and 96 percent of colonies showed signs of deformed wing virus.

The scientists say that the high mite levels suggest that current management approaches might not be effective.