Africanized honey bees show some tolerance of varroa mites; however, the exact reasons for this are unknown. This research addresses a number of variables that may play a role in varroa reproductive success in European and Africanized honey bees. Three hypotheses were tested: 1) rearing cell size in European vs. Africanized honey bees; 2) race of the host bee; and 3) race of the colony rearing environment. The hypotheses were tested with a co-fostering experiment. Two “hybrid” frames with European and Africanized-sized cells were placed in an Africanized and a European colony. The queen was confined on the “hybrid” frames for up to 48 hours for egg laying. After this period, the queen was excluded from the frames and one frame was switched to a colony of the opposite race. Frames were left in place for 15 days to allow the mites to lay eggs and develop, then were removed and frozen. Cells were opened individually and their contents examined for number, ontogeny, and mortality of mites. Clutch size, as indicated by mite stages found in infested host cells, was used as an indicator of varroa reproductive success. The experiment was repeated 8 times.
Species 1: Hymenoptera Apidae Apis mellifera (honey bee)
Species 2: Acari Varroidae Varroa destructor (varroa mite)
Keywords: cell size
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