Submitted to: American Bee Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2004
Publication Date: June 1, 2004
Citation: Rinderer, T.E., De Guzman, L.I., Harper, C. 2004. The effects of co-mingled russian and italian honey bee stocks and sunny or shaded apiaries on varroa mite population growth, worker bee population and honey production. American Bee Journal. Vol. 144(6):481-485. Interpretive Summary: This study was conducted to determine some optimum conditions for managing varroa mite resistant honey bees. The co-mingling colonies of commercial Russian honey bees with commercial colonies of Italian honey bees aided the spread of mites to the resistant Russian colonies. In contrast, non- co-mingled colonies of Russian honey bees had only one-third the number of mites. Also, shaded apiary conditions caused colonies to have more mites. Overall, keeping entire apiaries of mite resistant honey bees in direct sun resulted in colonies having the fewest mites. Additionally, Russian colonies produced about 15% more honey than the Italian honey bees.
Technical Abstract: The effects of co-mingling colonies of commercial Russian stock with colonies of Italian stock and the effects of direct sun exposure and shade on the growth of Varroa destructor populations, worker bee populations and honey production were compared. Regardless of treatment, the Russian colonies had substantially smaller V. destructor populations than the Italian colonies. Exposure to sunlight retarded mite population growth while prolonged shade accelerated it, causing the death of many of the Italian colonies. The numbers of mites in Russian colonies kept in Russian apiaries were about one-third the numbers of mites in Russian colonies co-mingled with Italian colonies. Russian colonies had larger seasonal changes in honey bee population. Overall, Russian colonies produced an average of 146 pounds of honey while the Italian colonies produced an average of 126 pounds. Honey production in apiaries with both Russian and Italian colonies was consistent with this general difference.