Submitted to: Journal of Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/29/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The mite Varroa jacobsoni is a serious pest of honey bees and a threat to the vitality of the U.S. beekeeping industry. We have examined a nutritional aspect of the host-parasite interaction in an effort to uncover biochemical differences between the mite and the bee. Our results indicate that the use of sterol inhibitors in a mite control program are unlikely to be effective. This information will be used by those involved in finding a control for parasitic bee mites and will benefit the U.S. beekeeping industry.
Technical Abstract: The neutral sterols of the parasitic mite Varroa jacobsoni were compared with Apis mellifera carnica drone pupae. Analysis by GLC-mass spectrometry indicated mite sterols were reflective of the sterol composition of the drones; 24-methylenecholesterol was the major sterol in both species, with lesser amounts of sitosterol and isofucosterol. Cholesterol accounted for less than 1% of the total sterols. Ecdysteroid analyses indicated drones contained primarily makisterone A. In addition to makisterone A, mites contained ecdysone and 20-hydroxyecdysone, which accounted for over 66% of the ecdysteroid detected. These results indicate that while V. jacobsoni are apparently unable to convert dietary sterols to cholesterol, they are able to produce significant amount of C27 ecdysteroids in a low cholesterol environment.