Submitted to: Journal of Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 29, 1997
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The mite Varroa jacobsoni is a serious pest of honey bees and a threat to the vitality of the U.S. beekeeping industry. We have examined a nutritional aspect of the host-parasite interaction in an effort to uncover biochemical differences between the mite and the bee. Our results indicate that the use of sterol inhibitors in a mite control program are unlikely to be effective. This information will be used by those involved in finding a control for parasitic bee mites and will benefit the U.S. beekeeping industry.
The neutral sterols of the parasitic mite Varroa jacobsoni were compared with Apis mellifera carnica drone pupae. Analysis by GLC-mass spectrometry indicated mite sterols were reflective of the sterol composition of the drones; 24-methylenecholesterol was the major sterol in both species, with lesser amounts of sitosterol and isofucosterol. Cholesterol accounted for less than 1% of the total sterols. Ecdysteroid analyses indicated drones contained primarily makisterone A. In addition to makisterone A, mites contained ecdysone and 20-hydroxyecdysone, which accounted for over 66% of the ecdysteroid detected. These results indicate that while V. jacobsoni are apparently unable to convert dietary sterols to cholesterol, they are able to produce significant amount of C27 ecdysteroids in a low cholesterol environment.