Submitted to: American Bee Journal
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/30/2007
Publication Date: 1/1/2008
Citation: Danka, R.G., Harris, J.W., Ward, K., Ward, R. 2008. Status of bees with the trait of varroa sensitive hygiene (VSH) for varroa resistance. American Bee Journal 148(1):51-54
Technical Abstract: The utility of USDA-developed Russian and varroa sensitive hygiene (VSH) honey bees, Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae), was compared to that of locally produced, commercial Italian bees during 2004-2006 in beekeeping operations in Alabama, USA. Infestations of varroa mites, Varroa destructor Anderson and Truman (Acari: Varroidae), were measured twice each year, and colonies that reached established economic treatment thresholds (1 mite per 100 adult bees in late winter; 5-10 mites per 100 adult bees in late summer) were treated with acaricides. Infestations of tracheal mites, Acarapis woodi (Rennie) (Acari: Tarsonemidae), were measured in autumn and compared to a treatment threshold of 20% mite prevalence. Honey production was measured in 2005 and 2006 for colonies that retained original test queens. Throughout the three seasons of measurement, resistant stocks required less treatment against parasitic mites than the Italian stock. The total percentages of colonies needing treatment against varroa mites were 12% of VSH, 24% of Russian and 40% of Italian. The total percentages requiring treatment against tracheal mites were 1% of Russian, 8% of VSH and 12% of Italian. The average honey yield of Russian and VSH colonies was comparable to that of Italian colonies each year. Beekeepers did not report any significant behavioral problems with the resistant stocks. These stocks thus have good potential for use in non-migratory beekeeping operations in the southeastern USA.