Effect of the size of worker brood cells of Africanized honey bees on infestation and reproduction of the ectoparasitic mite Varroa jacobsoni OudD. Messagea and L.S. Gonçalvesb
a Depto Biologia Animal, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, 36571-000 Viçosa, MG, Brazil
b Depto Biologia, FFCLRP, USP, 14049-901 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil
Abstract - An investigation was made of the influence of honey bee worker brood cell size on infestation by the mite Varroa jacobsoni. Pieces of combs constructed by Africanized (small cells) and pure Italian (large cells) honey bees were placed within the same frame and eggs were laid by a single queen in each trial. Two queens, one Africanized and the other Italian, were mated with Africanized drones, and their respective colonies were used in 16 trials. The frequency of infested brood cells was higher in the large worker brood cells built by European races than in the small worker brood cells built by Africanized bees (15.7 vs 7.3%, respectively), though other factors, including egg origin and colony, were equal. The same was true for frequency of cells with female deutonymphs (which represent effective reproduction) (11.9 vs 4.7%, respectively).
Key words: Apis mellifera / Varroa jacobsoni / Africanized bees / mite reproduction / brood infestation