Submitted to: American Bee Journal
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2004
Publication Date: May 1, 2004
Citation: Harris, J.W., Harbo, J.R. 2004. Selective breeding for honey bees with a low percentage of varroa mites in capped brood [abstract]. American Bee Journal. 144(5):405 Technical Abstract: We selected colonies of honey bees for extremes in percentage of varroa mites in capped brood (P-MIB). P-MIB measures the average distribution of mites in a colony. In particular, a low P-MIB indicates that mites spend more time on adult bees than within capped brood cells where they reproduce. Mites living on adult bees for longer periods will produce fewer offspring over time, and the growth of varroa mite populations will be slower than usual. Three colonies with the lowest P-MIB and three with the highest P-MIB from each of two apiaries (A and B; n=22 colonies per apiary) were chosen as breeding stock. The means (mean ± SD) for P-MIB for the low groups were 42 ± 8 % and 30 ± 16 %, and those for the high groups were 85 ± 10 % and 66 ± 2 % (apiaries A and B, respectively). We artificially inseminated daughter queens from the selected queens with semen from unrelated but similar drones (low mated to low; high mated to high). Queens will undergo further selection in 2004. Our goals are to produce lines with high and low P-MIB, determine the lowest limits for P-MIB, and show that this trait can control mite populations in the absence of other mite resistance traits.