Free access
Volume 29, Number 3, 1998
Page(s) 283 - 289
Apidologie 29 (1998) 283-289
DOI: 10.1051/apido:19980307

Uncapping of worker bee brood, a component of the hygienic behavior of Africanized honey bees against the mite Varroa jacobsoni Oudemans

Maria-Helena Corrêa-Marquesa and David De Jongb

a  Entomology Section, Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras, Universidade de Sâo Paulo, 14.049-901 Ribeirâo Preto, SP, Brazil
b  Genetics Department, Faculdade de Medicina, USP, 14.049-900 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil

Abstract - Prematurely uncapped worker brood cells, possibly an initial phase of hygienic behavior, were found in ten Africanized honey bee colonies in Brazil. Among 360 such cells, 46 % contained the mite Varroa jacobsoni. A mean of 12 % of the normal, capped, worker brood cells were infested in the same colonies. In 18 % of the uncapped cells there were feces of larvae of the greater wax moth (Galleria mellonella), but no indication of mites. The remaining cells had no signs of either, or of any other abnormality that might have provoked the bees to uncap the cells. White-bodied pupae, with lightly pigmented eyes were the phase most frequently found to be uncapped, and represented 53 % of the total. The nearly four times higher infestation rate in prematurely uncapped cells shows that the bees selectively uncap cells infested with Varroa jacobsoni. © Inra/DIB/AGIB/Elsevier, Paris

Key words: Varroa jacobsoni / Africanized bee / resistance / Galleria mellonella / hygienic behavior