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Volume 33, Number 4, July-August 2002
Page(s) 389 - 398

Apidologie 33 (2002) 389-398
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2002024

Differential infestation of honey bee, Apis mellifera, worker and queen brood by the parasitic mite Varroa destructor

Nicholas W. Calderone, Sisi Lin and Lodewyk P.S. Kuenen

Department of Entomology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

(Received 17 August 2001; revised 15 February 2002; accepted 21 February 2002)

We examined the distribution of Varroa destructor on worker and queen brood in colonies of A. mellifera. With both worker and queen hosts present, the mite prevalence value for worker hosts was 75.0 $\pm$ 4.0% (lsmean $\pm$ SE), compared to 5.1 $\pm$ 4.0% for queen hosts ( P < 0.0001). We also examined the response of mites to cuticular extracts of 5th instar worker and queen larvae using arrestment bioassays. In binary-choice tests at 0.5 larval equivalents (Leq), worker extract arrested 84.79 $\pm$ 4.98% of the mites, while queen extract arrested 15.21 $\pm$ 4.98% ( P < 0.0001). At 0.8 Leq, worker extract arrested 89.75 $\pm$ 4.98%, while queen extract arrested 10.25 $\pm$ 4.98% ( P < 0.0001). We also measured the repellent activity of royal jelly extract in a repellent bioassay. Royal jelly extract repelled 78.5 $\pm$ 2.6% of mites at 5 mg royal jelly equivalents (Rjeq); 85.6 $\pm$ 3.7% at 10 mg Rjeq; and 89.2 $\pm$ 3.8% at 20 mg Rjeq. The response at each dose was greater than the 10.5 $\pm$ 2.9% mites repelled by solvent controls ( P < 0.0001). Our findings suggest that the low incidence of mites in queen brood is due, in part, to the repellent activity of royal jelly, and possibly to intrinsic differences between larval chemistries.

Key words: Apis mellifera / Varroa jacobsoni / Varroa destructor / parasitic mite / royal jelly

Correspondence and reprints: Nicholas W. Calderone

© INRA, EDP Sciences, DIB, AGIB 2002