Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Breeding, Genetics, Stock Improvement and Management of Russian Honey Bees for Mite and Small Hive Beetle Control and Pollination

Location: Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Research

Title: Observations on the removal of brood inoculated with Tropilaelaps mercedesae (Mesostigmata: Laelapidae) and the mite’s reproductive success in Apis mellifera colonies

Authors
item Khongphinitbunjong, Kitiphong -
item De Guzman, Lilia
item Buawangpong, Ninat -
item Rinderer, Thomas
item Frake, Amanda
item Chantawannakul, Panuwan -

Submitted to: Experimental and Applied Acarology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 11, 2013
Publication Date: August 24, 2013
Citation: Khongphinitbunjong, K., De Guzman, L.I., Buawangpong, N., Rinderer, T.E., Frake, A.M., Chantawannakul, P. 2013. Observations on the removal of brood inoculated with Tropilaelaps mercedesae (Mesostigmata: Laelapidae) and the mite’s reproductive success in Apis mellifera colonies. Experimental and Applied Acarology 62(1):47-55.

Interpretive Summary: Devastating pests and diseases have recently been introduced into the United States significantly decreasing beekeepers’ profit. The possible introduction of Tropilaelaps into the U.S. will be an added burden to an already suffering industry. Basic information on Tropilaelaps reproduction and behavioral variability among colonies will help develop management plans for bee stock improvement. In this study, we assessed the response of Apis mellifera colonies to brood deliberately infested with T. mercedesae and also evaluated the mites’ reproductive success in mite-inoculated and naturally infested brood. Our results showed that Thai A. mellifera removed more Tropilaelaps-infested brood than in the control groups (disturbed and undisturbed brood without mite inoculation). We also found that non-reproduction (NR) of Tropilaelaps is high especially in naturally infested brood (NIP). Since NR in Varroa is known to be associated with brood removal, these observations may suggest that Thai A. mellifera colonies are hygienic towards Tropilaelaps-infested brood. Our study suggests that brood removal may be one of the resistance mechanisms towards T. mercedesae by naturally adapted Thai A. mellifera.

Technical Abstract: This study assessed the response of Apis mellifera to brood deliberately infested with Tropilaelaps mercedesae. The reproductive success of T. mercedesae in mite-inoculated and naturally infested brood was also compared. The presence of T. mercedesae inside brood cells significantly affected brood removal. Thai A. mellifera removed 52.6 ± 8.2% of the brood inoculated with T. mercedesae as compared to 17.2 ± 1.8% and 5.7 ± 1.1% removal rates for the groups of brood with their cell cappings opened and closed without mite inoculation (o/c) and the control brood (undisturbed, no mite inoculation), respectively. Brood removal peaked during the second and third days post inoculation when test brood was at the prepupal stage. Overall, non-reproduction (NR) of foundress T. mercedesae was high. However, when NR was measured based on the criteria used for Varroa, the naturally infested pupae (NIP) supported the highest NR (92.8%). Newly sealed larvae inoculated with Tropilaelaps collected from newly sealed larvae (NSL) had 78.2% NR and those inoculated with Tropilaelaps collected from tan-bodied pupae (TBP) had 76.8% NR. Since Tropilaelaps is known to have a short development period and nearly all progeny reach adulthood by the time of host emergence, we also used two Tropilaelaps-specific criteria to determine NR. Foundresses that did not produce progeny and those that produced only one progeny were considered NR. Using these two criteria, NR decreased tremendously but showed similar trends with means of 65%, 40% and 33% for NIP, NSL and TBP, respectively. High NR in the NIP group may indicate increased hygienic behavior in Thai A. mellifera colonies. The removal of infested prepupae or tan-bodied pupae will likely decrease the reproductive potential of Tropilaelaps. Our study suggests that brood removal may be one of the resistance mechanisms towards T. mercedesae by naturally adapted Thai A. mellifera.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014