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Title: Varroa-Sensitive Hygiene and Recapped Brood Cells

item Harris, Jeffrey

Submitted to: American Bee Research Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/13/2007
Publication Date: 5/1/2007
Citation: Harris, J.W. 2007. Varroa-Sensitive Hygiene and Recapped Brood Cells. American Bee Research Conference Proceedings. American Bee Journal 147(5):440

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Honey bees bred for “suppression of mite reproduction” resist the growth of Varroa destructor through the removal of mite-infested pupae from capped brood. This is varroa-sensitive hygiene (VSH), and the bees are called VSH bees. VSH is a multi-step process that involves detection, uncapping of the cell, and removal of the host. Some uncapped brood cells, even infested ones, are ultimately recapped by bees. This study compared the incidence of recapped cells on mite-infested combs that were put into colonies of VSH (n=11) and controls (n=9) for 1 week. VSH bees removed 55% of mite-infested pupae, while controls removed 1%. In addition,VSH bees recapped significantly more cells (63%) than controls did (25%). The infestation rate of recapped cells in VSH bees (14%) was half of that (30%) of controls. The reproductive success of mites in recapped cells from VSH bees (27%) was half of that for mites in recapped cells of controls (53%). Thus, reduced reproductive success of mites may be linked directly to hygienic behavior of bees.