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Title: Prevalence and reproduction of Tropilaelaps mercedesae and Varroa destructor in concurrently infested Apis mellifera colonies

item BUAWANGPONG, NINAT - Chiang Mai University
item De Guzman, Lilia
item Frake, Amanda
item BURGETT, MICHAEL - Oregon State University
item CHANTAWANNAKUL, PANUWAN - Chiang Mai University

Submitted to: Apidologie
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/14/2015
Publication Date: 11/1/2015
Citation: Buawangpong, N., De Guzman, L.I., Khongphinitbunjong, K., Frake, A.M., Burgett, M., Chantawannakul, P. 2015. Prevalence and reproduction of Tropilaelaps mercedesae and Varroa destructor in concurrently infested Apis mellifera colonies. Apidologie 46(6):779-786

Interpretive Summary: Varroa destructor and Tropilaelaps have been co-infesting A. mellifera colonies 39 for about 50 years in Asia (Delfinado 1963). However, infestations of T. clareae (likely 40 referring to T. mercedesae) were higher than those of V. jacobsoni (likely referring to V. 41 destructor) in Thailand (Burgett et al. 1983). Similar trends were observed in Afghanistan 42 and Vietnam (Woyke 1987a; Woyke 1989). However, in the Philippines, those A. 43 mellifera colonies that had higher infestations of T. clareae than Varroa in April had 44 higher Varroa than T. clareae infestations in September (Fajardo and Cervancia 2004). In 45 Northern Thailand, Kavinseksan (2003) monitored T. clareae (probably referring to T. 46 mercedesae) infestations in mite-inoculated colonies of Primorsky bees (=Russian honey 47 bees, RHB) and Thai A. mellifera. The author found that RHB colonies (mean = 18.5%) 48 supported higher brood infestation than the local bees (mean = 11.4%) with the highest 49 infestations observed in May (RHB = 33%, Thai A. mellifera = 21%). Factors that 50 influence population fluctuations of both mites in concurrently infested colonies have not 51 been studied.

Technical Abstract: The prevalence of Tropilaelaps mercedesae and Varroa destructor in concurrently infested A. mellifera colonies in Thailand was monitored. We also assessed the fecundity of T. mercedesae and V. destructor in naturally infested brood and in brood cells deliberately infested with both mite genera. Results showed that the natural coinfestation of an individual brood cell by both mite genera was rare (<0.1%). Overall, T. mercedesae was the more dominant brood parasite of A. mellifera than V. destructor. In naturally infested brood, the proportion of non-reproductive Tropilaelaps (29.8 ± 3.9%) was lower than that of Varroa (49.6 ± 5.9%). Both mites produced similar numbers of progeny (T. mercedesae = 1.48 ± 0.05; V. destructor = 1.69 ± 0.14). The two mite genera also reproduced normally when they were deliberately introduced into the same brood cells. In two separate assessments, the average worker brood infestations of T. mercedesae (19.9%) were significant higher than that of V. destructor (0.7%). Our results on the higher prevalence and reproductive ability of T. mercedesae in concurrently infested colonies reaffirm Tropilaelaps' competitive advantage over V. destructor and their reported negative impact to A. mellifera colonies.