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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Breeding, Genetics, Stock Improvement and Management of Russian Honey Bees for Mite and Small Hive Beetle Control and Pollination

Location: Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Research

Title: Assessing grooming behavior of Russian honey bees toward Varroa destructor.

Authors
item De Guzman, Lilia
item Rinderer, Thomas
item Frake, Amanda

Submitted to: Proceedings, Asian Apicultural Association
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 15, 2010
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: The grooming behavior of Russian bees was compared to Italian bees. Overall, Russian bees had significantly lower numbers of mites than the Italian bees with a mean of 1,937 ± 366 and 5,088 ± 733 mites, respectively. This low mite population in the Russian colonies was probably due to the increased proportion of total mites that dropped onto bottom board traps. While ANOVA revealed no significant interaction between stock and time of observation, stock and time effects were detected for the proportions of total mites, foundress and daughter mites and fresh foundress mites that were trapped. Russian bees (13.02 ± 3.42%) had significantly higher proportions of trapped mites than Italian colonies (5.58 ± 0.83%). When foundress mites (fresh + dry) were considered, Russian colonies (10.35 ± 3.10%) produced significantly higher proportions of trapped mites than Italian colonies (3.96 ± 0.76%). The proportion of trapped daughter mites showed a similar trend (Russian = 2.66 ± 0.41%; Italian = 1.62 ± 0.19%). The Russian bee colonies (2.6 ± 0.80%) also had a higher proportion of fresh foundress mites that were trapped than the Italian colonies (1.27 ± 0.15%). High proportions of trapped mites found in the Russian bees may suggest an increase in the bees’ aggressiveness toward the mites, which may be substantial in regulating mite populations in the colonies.

Last Modified: 12/26/2014
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