Aspects of the bionomics of the parasitic honey bee brood mite, Varroa jacobsoni Oudemans Public Deposited

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  • Aspects concerning the bionomics of the parasitic honey bee brood mite, Varroa jacobsoni Oudemans were investigated. Mite mortality is great during the winter season when the host colony is not rearing brood, appearing to be independent of the mortality of its host. In winter period, no significant association between the number of dead mites and the number of dead adult workers was observed. It appears that the mites are dying by factors other than the host death. Drifting drones facilitate the horizontal transmission of Varroa jacobsoni mites between colonies, especially in modern beekeeping in which managed colonies are kept similarly hived and close together. A great tendency of drones to drift among colonies was observed. A significant correlation was found in the rate of mites per drones and the number of drones in the colonies. It was concluded that the transmission of Varroa jacobsoni among colonies via drifting drones is a common mechanism for the transmission of mites. The relationship between mite load and the size of the honey bee brood host was investigated. The data showed significant statistical differences between the infestation rate of the mite that is, number of female mites per infested pupae and the size of the worker brood nest of its host. With a high number of worker cells in the colony, the mite load is lowered. Feeding activities of V. jacobsoni causes a great impact on A. mellifera colony survival not only through physical damage caused by this mite but also through transmission of various entomopathogenic agents responsible for the outbreak of secondary diseases in the colony. I concluded that mites fed on adult bees during summer time. It appears that the frequency of mite feeding on adult bees at this time is low, suggesting that probably the mite feeds only for maintenance and survival rather than for reproduction.
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