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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ASSESSING AND MITIGATING PROBLEMS CAUSED BY VARROA MITES AND SMALL HIVE BEETLES ON HONEY BEES IN HAWAII Project Number: 6413-21000-013-03
Project Type: Specific Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 20, 2010
End Date: Sep 30, 2012

Objective:
1. Determine the level of the expression of the trait ‘Varroa specific hygiene’ (VSH) needed to obtain useful resistance to Varroa destructor mites in commercial queen production operations in Hawaii. Mite parasitism is expected to be high in these operations because of the production of large numbers of drones in many colonies, and the extended brood rearing season in the tropics. The test results may indicate a reduced need for treatment in colonies having greater levels of VSH. 2. Determine if small hive beetle (SHB) larvae can successfully pupate in lava rock. It is possible that the rough texture or the presence of holes in lava rock will serve as pupation sites for SHB. The growth of plants in the apiaries also serves as an indication of the presence of soil which may increase pupation success of SHB. 3. Determine reproductive success of SHB on different Hawaiian fruits. Many of these fruit trees grow in the wild and fruits are left on the ground.

Approach:
1. Each of three participating queen breeders will establish an apiary in a Varroa-infested area with colonies of several levels of VSH (0, 50 and 75%). The colonies will be started as splits with no sealed brood. Varroa densities on adult bees will be measured and colonies assigned to equalize mite densities among levels of VSH within each breeder’s splits. Colonies will be managed initially without Varroa treatments. Cooperator will sample colonies every two months to monitor density of Varroa, and treat individual colonies that reach a predetermined density of mites on adult bees. Participating queen breeders will rate the beekeeping characteristics of the colonies. 2. In a laboratory bioassay, mature larvae of SHB will be reared in cylinders containing one of three treatments: lava rock alone, soil alone and a combination of lava rock and soil. In the field, pupation success will be determined in at least 5 apiaries. 3. Reproductive success of SHB will be assessed in the laboratory using different fruits commonly grown in Hawaii. In the field, fresh and rotting fruits from trees in and near test apiaries also will be examined for different stages of SHB.

Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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