Free access
Volume 30, Number 2-3, 1999
Dynamics and control of Varroa parasitism on Apis
Page(s) 141 - 158
Apidologie 30 (1999) 141-158
DOI: 10.1051/apido:19990205

Behavioral defenses of honey bees against Varroa jacobsoni Oud.

Otto Boeckinga and Marla Spivakb

a  Institut für Landwirtschaftliche Zoologie und Bienenkunde der Universität, Melweg 42, 53127 Bonn, Germany
b  Department of Entomology, 219 Hodson Hall, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA

Abstract - Two behaviors of honey bees, hygienic behavior and grooming, are mechanisms of defense against brood diseases and parasitic mites. Studies have shown that Apis mellifera colonies remove worker brood infested with Varroa jacobsoni mites from the nest (hygienic behavior), and groom the mites off other adult bees, but to a limited extent compared to the original host of V. jacobsoni, A. cerana. Research is reviewed on hygienic and grooming behaviors with respect to their potential as mechanisms of resistance to V. jacobsoni. Studies related to hygienic behavior include the removal of experimentally infested and naturally infested brood, measurements of heritability, the uncapping and recapping of cells containing infested pupae, and the detection of infested brood. Studies on grooming include the process by which a groomer detects and damages a mite found on itself or on another adult bee, how the behavior is quantified, and problems with these methods of quantification. Finally, unresolved questions concerning grooming and the effects of hygienic and non-hygienic behaviors on limiting the population growth of V. jacobsoni are discussed. © Inra/DIB/AGIB/Elsevier, Paris

Key words: Apis mellifera / Apis cerana / Varroa jacobsoni / hygienic behavior / grooming behavior / resistance / tolerance