Submitted to: American Bee Journal
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: January 9, 2006
Publication Date: May 1, 2006
Citation: Villa, J.D. 2006. Do tracheal mites reduce the longevity of workers?. American Bee Journal 146(5):450-451 Technical Abstract: The longevity of individual workers exposed to tracheal mites at different times of the year was evaluated in observation hives and in hoarding cages. Young workers (< 24 h) from colonies known to be highly resistant and highly susceptible to infestation were painted or tagged with plastic-numbered discs. They were introduced into the most highly infested colonies available at the time or into uninfested colonies. Workers were then retrieved and placed either into a common observation hive or into hoarding cages. A subsample of marked workers were dissected to estimate the resulting level of infestation in bees exposed to infestation, and to verify the lack of infestation in bees not exposed. For workers treated as above but placed into hoarding cages, it was possible to determine actual infestation of each dead bee. In observation hives, there was a significant reduction in the longevity of workers exposed to infestation. However, results were not homogeneous between trials. Resulting infestation of exposed workers was highly variable. Seasonal, genetic and fostering colony effects confounded the effects of tracheal mite infestation. In experiments in hoarding cages, which permitted determining the infestation of each individual bee, there was no reduction in longevity due to infestation. As suggested by earlier literature, the effects of tracheal mites on worker longevity may be variable and even absent under some circumstances.