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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Baton Rouge, Louisiana » Honey Bee Lab » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #398776

Research Project: Using Genetics to Improve the Breeding and Health of Honey Bees

Location: Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Research

Title: The story so far on amitraz resistance in Varroa

item Rinkevich, Frank
item MACFAWN, DAVID - Non ARS Employee

Submitted to: Bee Culture
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2022
Publication Date: 5/1/2022
Citation: Rinkevich Jr, F.D., MacFawn, D. 2022. The story so far on amitraz resistance in Varroa. Bee Culture. pg. 1-6.

Interpretive Summary: This article deals with the state of the science on amitraz resistance in Varroa, which is a major parasite of honey bees. Understanding amitraz resistance in Varroa is a critical part of maintaining healthy honey bee colonies. Over the past 3 years, we have performed resistance tests on nearly 700 colonies across the US. Approximately 25% of those samples had levels of amitraz resistance that would result in control failure at the colony level. Resistance is likely due to the chemical properties of amitraz as well as how beekeepers use it. Recent research has shown a genetic mutation is associated with amitraz resistance, which will allow us to expand our sampling area and allow more beekeepers to easily participate in this research.

Technical Abstract: Amitraz is a widely used miticide to control the parasite, Varroa desctructor, in honey bee colonies. Resistance has evolved to the point where there are instances of treatment failure when amitraz is used to control Varroa. We investigate the prevalence of amitraz resistance in Varroa from beekeeping operations across the US over the past 3 years by performing field surveys of resistance. We propose some hypotheses about how amitraz resistance evolves, spreads, and what can be done to control amitraz resistant Varroa. Finally, we discuss the path forward with the development of molecular tools to diagnose resistance using DNA markers and how our sampling strategy will change with a simplified method of resistance detection.