BREEDING, GENETICS, STOCK IMPROVEMENT AND MANAGEMENT OF RUSSIAN HONEY BEES FOR MITE CONTROL AND POLLINATION
Location: Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Research
Title: RUSSIAN HONEY BEE, APIS MELLIFERA L. (HYMENOPTERA: APIDAE), COLONIES: ACARAPIS WOODI (RENNIE) (ACARI: TARSONEMIDAE) INFESTATIONS AND OVERWINTERING SURVIVAL
Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 2, 2005
Publication Date: December 2, 2005
Citation: De Guzman, L.I., Rinderer, T.E., Bigalk, M., Tubbs, H., Bernard, S.J. Russian honey bee, apis mellifera l. (hymenoptera: apidae), colonies: acarapis woodi (rennie) (acari: tarsonemidae) infestations and overwintering survival. Journal of Economic Entomology 98(6):1796-1801
Interpretive Summary: Tracheal mites are often blamed as the cause of overwintering failures of honey bee colonies in cooler regions of the United States. This study compared the tracheal mite infestations and overwintering survival of Italian and Russian honey bee colonies during the winter of 1999-2001. The Italian bees consumed more food, had more mites, and lost more adult bees than the Russian bees even during unusually mild winter conditions. This observation supports the general conclusion that tracheal mite resistant stock is essential for consistent overwintering success. Additional traits, such as frugal food use and good clustering ability can enhance overwintering success as they do with Russian honey bees.
Honey bee colonies infested by parasitic mites are more prone to suffer from a variety of stresses including cold temperature. We evaluated the overwintering ability of candidate breeder lines of Russian honey bees, most of which are resistant to both Varroa destructor Anderson and Trueman and Acarapis woodi (Rennie), during 1999-2001. Our results indicate that Russian honey bees can successfully over-winter in the north even during adverse weather conditions owing to their frugal use of food stores, low tracheal mite infestations, and good spring populations of bees. In contrast, colonies of Italian honey bees consumed more food, had more mites and lost more adult bees than Russian honey bees even during unusually mild winter conditions.