WELL GROOMED BEES RESIST TRACHEAL MITES
Tracheal mites, Acarapis woodi, are parasites that pose a significant health problem for honey bees in the United States and in many other countries. Fortunately, some stocks of bees have an inherent genetic resistance to being infested by mites. Until the experiments described here, it was not known what specific characteristics enabled bees to resist infestation by the mites.
Tracheal mites in a honey bee trachea (photo at 30X)
Worker bee grooming its thorax with the right middle leg
Genetic resistance to tracheal mites can be used by bee breeders to improve stocks
The results provide the first evidence of how some bees are able to avoid mite infestation. The findings are potentially useful to scientists and bee breeders trying to identify other resistant stocks and in selecting for the economically important trait of resistance.
Reference to full article:
Evidence of autogrooming as a mechanism of honey bee resistance to tracheal mite infestation. Journal of Apicultural Research 37: 39-46 (1998) by R. G. Danka and J. D. Villa.