Tracheal mite parasitism of honey bees Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/cn69m764n

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  • The tracheal mite, Acarapis woodi (Rennie), parasitizes the honey bee, Apis mellifera L., an insect used extensively by humans for pollination of domestic crops and for bee products, primarily honey. This parasite was first discovered in 1921 on the Isle of Wight, a small island situated in the English Channel off the southern coast of England. Controversy as to the impact of A. woodi on its honey bee host arose soon after its discovery. This project quantifies the mite-generated mortality of worker honey bees during the flowering period when the bees are active and suggests how mortality of individuals may impact the colony to which these individuals belong. A model of parasitism is derived that demonstrates how swarming may stabilize the populations of host and parasite, how drifting of worker bees between colonies may be directly related to parasite prevalence among the population of colonies and how interruption of swarming may disrupt this system. It appears that honey bee foraging has little impact on mite transmission, but microclimate probably is important. The mites transfer to new hosts mainly during the night. Tracheal mites produce both sexes in sufficient numbers to suggest that parthenogenesis is not invoked to take advantage of quickly expanding resources (i.e. young bees) in the spring. Mite fecundity in the Pacific Northwest peaks in June when bee turnover is greatest. Protein mucopolysaccharide material covers the hemolymph side of infested tracheae and these become darkened with age, suggesting that mite feeding initiates a coagulation-melanization response from the bee. Within a colony uninfested members are also affected by mite infestation of their sisters, as indicated by studies on individual bee physiology.
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