Free access
Volume 34, Number 1, January-February 2003
Page(s) 61 - 65
Apidologie 34 (2003) 61-65
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2002052

Weight loss in drone pupae (Apis mellifera) multiply infested by Varroa destructor mites

Pedro Duaya, b, David De Jongb and Wolf Engelsa

a  Zoologisches Institut, LS Entwicklungsphysiologie, Auf der Morgenstelle 28, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
b  Department of Genetics, Medical Faculty, University of São Paulo, 14.049-900 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil

(Received 8 December 2001; revised 16 July 2002; accepted 17 July 2002)

Colony losses caused by varroatosis in the western hive bee, Apis mellifera, are mainly due to worker bee injury by Varroa destructor mites during preimaginal development. These effects have been examined repeatedly; however, little is known about effects on drones. Here we present the first exact data on individual drone weight loss, especially from the red eyed pupal stage onwards. The resulting reduction in weight of adult drones was related to the number of female mites (up to 20) that had invaded a brood cell. Weight loss was significant even if only one female mite was present. From several of the heavily infested brood cells adult mini-drones emerged.

Key words: Varroosis / multiple drone brood infestation / preimaginal weight loss / male fitness / Apis mellifera / Varroa destructor

Correspondence and reprints: Wolf Engels

© INRA, EDP Sciences, DIB, AGIB 2003