The potential for Metarhizium anisopliae to control the parasitic mite, Varroa destructor in honey bee colonies was evaluated in field trials against the miticide, tau-fluvalinate (Apistan). Peak mortality of V. destructor occurred 3-4 d after the conidia were applied; however, the mites were still infected 42 d post-treatments. Two application methods were tested: dusts and strips coated with the fungal conidia, and both methods resulted in successful control of mite populations. The fungal treatments were as effective as the Apistan, at the end of the 42 d period of the experiment. Overall, the data suggested that optimum mite control could be achieved when no brood is being produced, or when brood production is low, such as in the early spring or late fall. Metarhizium anisopliae was harmless to the honey bees (adult bees, or brood) and colony development was not affected. Mite mortality was highly correlated with mycosis in dead mites collected from sticky traps, indicating that the fungus was infecting and killing the mites. Because workers and drones drift between hives, the adult bees were able to spread the fungus between honey bee colonies in the apiary, a situation that could be beneficial to beekeepers.
Species 1: Acari Varroidae Varroa destructor (Varroa mite)
Keywords: insect pathogens, control strategy
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