Free access
Volume 36, Number 3, July-September 2005
Page(s) 331 - 333
Published online 07 July 2005
Apidologie 36 (2005) 331-333
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2005019

An association in honey bees between autogrooming and the presence of migrating tracheal mites

Robert G. Danka and José D. Villa

USDA ARS Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics and Physiology Laboratory, 1157 Ben Hur Road, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70820, USA

(Received 15 July 2004 - Revised 3 November 2004 - Accepted 4 November 2004; Published online: 7 July 2005)

Abstract - We evaluated the difference in tracheal mite infestation between nestmate honey bees that were actively autogrooming and those that were not. Bees seen to be actively grooming themselves in an observation hive were immediately removed through a door, narcotized and searched for mites. Nearby bees that were not grooming also were taken and examined. A strong association was found between the act of autogrooming and the presence of tracheal mites, with mites found at a 4-fold greater frequency on the thoraxes of grooming bees (36/50 with mites) than on non-grooming bees. Mites were found most commonly on the metatergum and the propodeum, and near the wing bases.

Key words: Apis mellifera / Acarapis woodi / tracheal mite / infestation / grooming behavior

Corresponding author: Robert G. Danka

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2005