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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Baton Rouge, Louisiana » Honey Bee Lab » Research » Research Project #420524

Research Project: Development of Apis mellifera syriaca Genetic Stock with Increased Resistance to Parasitic Bee Mites

Location: Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Research

2012 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
The main objective of this project is to develop a stock of honey bees that have increased resistance to parasitic mites as well as being good honey producers. The specific objectives are: 1) to identify population of Apis mellifera syriaca that are mite-resistant and possess good beekeeping traits, 2) to compare A. m. syriaca with the mite-resistant ARS Primorsky (Russian) honey bees from the United States, 3) to develop A. m. syriaca x Russian mite-resistant honey bee hybrids, and 4) to determine mechanisms of resistance.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
The project will serve as an additional testing for the Russian honey bees outside the United States.

3. Progress Report:
ARS Russian honey bees are selected for resistance to Varroa destructor and can be kept with no or minimal use of acaricides. Eighty Russian queens obtained from commercial producers in the United States were shipped to Jordan and installed in colonies of honey bees at the National Center for Agriculture Research and Extension (NCARE), Honey Bee Research station in Irbid. The colonies these queens produce will be evaluated for varroa resistance and other useful beekeeping traits. Their resistance to varroa mites will be compared to that of the colonies of the local honey bee, Apis mellifera (A.m.) syriaca. The program will have several opportunities to develop locally suitable varroa resistant stock once these evaluations are made. Russian honey bees may be generally useful and selective breeding may allow them to be agriculturally useful in the region. A.m. syriaca may show useful variation in resistance such that a breeding and selection program would produce varroa resistance in the stock. A foundation stock composed of hybrids of Russian and Syriacan be may be developed to begin a selection program that would produce the desired stock. Jordanian staff were trained in various aspects of stock evaluation for varroa resistance and detailed plans for evaluating the inported Russian and local Jordanian stocks were developed. Baseline data were collected for all colonies in the project.

4. Accomplishments