Free access
Volume 36, Number 3, July-September 2005
Page(s) 345 - 358
Published online 07 July 2005
Apidologie 36 (2005) 345-358
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2005022

A multifactorial study of the resistance of honeybees Apis mellifera to the mite Varroa destructor over one year in Mexico

Luis Mondragóna, Marla Spivakb and Rémy Vandamea

a  El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Línea de Investigación "Abejas de Chiapas", Km 2.5 carretera Antiguo Aeropuerto, 30700 Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico
b  University of Minnesota, Department of Entomology, St. Paul, MN, USA

(Received 24 June 2004 - revised 12 October 2005 - accepted 10 November 2005; Published online: 7 July 2005)

Abstract - A one year study was conducted to evaluate the population growth of three kinds of honey bee colonies and Varroa destructor mites in Mexico, and to estimate the relative contributions of three resistance mechanisms of the bees: hygienic behavior, grooming behavior, and reproductive ability of the parasite. Very significant changes over the year were observed in the number of mated female offspring produced per mother mite (Wr), mite fertility and mutilation of V. destructor. These changes were correlated to the total number of mites per colony. A factorial analysis showed that two mechanisms explained the variation in the amount of mites per colony: Wr (r2 = 0.73) and proportion of mutilated mites (r2 = 0.51). A multi-factorial model including these two mechanisms was significant (r2 = 0.97). The mite fecundity and the hygienic behavior could not explain the population changes of the mite, and the different kinds of bees showed no differences in the expression of the resistance mechanisms.

Key words: Varroa destructor / Africanized honeybees / mite reproduction / hygienic behavior / grooming behavior / resistance / population growth

Corresponding author: Rémy Vandame

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2005