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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Danka, Robert - Bob

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/16/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Danka, R.G. 1999. Using Genetic Resistance to Solve Tracheal Mite Problems. Meeting Abstract. Proceedings of the XXXVi Congress. Apimondia 1999. p. 134.

Interpretive Summary: Tracheal Mites, Acarapis Woodi, continue to vexbeekeepers, especially those managing honey bees in cooler climates. Recent research in North American about genetic resistance of bees to tracheal mites had produced knowledge that beekeepers can use. Resistant bees are those that are unlikely to become infested at damaging levels when exposed to tracheal mites.

Technical Abstract: Tracheal mites, Acarapis woodi, can cause weakening or death of honey bee colonies. Recent research in North America has produced knowledge about genetic resistance of bees to tracheal mites. Resistance has been verified in commercial bees originally imported from Europe and in bees selected by North American beekeepers. Resistance occurs because worker bees reduce the number of mites that enter the tracheae. The principal governing mechanism is autogrooming; young resistant stock bees are more effective at cleaning migrating mites off themselves. Researchers have used resistant bees in a variety of mating experiments to confirm that resistance is usefully inherited. Success with reciprocal crosses shows that queen breeders using only natural matings can impart resistance by two approaches: by propagating queens from a resistant source and mating those daughter queens to drones of any source, or by mating queens of any stock in an area that has an abundance of resistant drones from resistant queens or daughters of resistant queens. Queen breeders can best improve mite resistance by making careful comparisons of potential breeding sources. Bees of different genetic lines should be exposed to uniform conditions so that the bees of interest are challenged equally by mites. This can be done by either short term testing of newly emerged bees mixed with infested bees in a colony for about a week, or by longer term monitoring of field colonies begun from a common infested source.

Last Modified: 10/16/2017
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