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Volume 37, Number 1, January-February 2006
Page(s) 67 - 74
Published online 10 January 2006
Apidologie 37 (2006) 67-74
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2005053

Mortality of mite offspring: a major component of Varroa destructor resistance in a population of Africanized bees

Luis Mondragóna, Stephen Martinb 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 Sheffield, Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, Western Bank, Sheffield, UK

(Received 22 November 2004 - revised 30 May 2005 - accepted 24 June 2005 - published online 10 January 2006)

Abstract - The role of Varroa destructor reproduction in the overall resistance to these mites by a population of honeybees in Mexico was studied. Since previous work showed the number of mated female offspring produced per foundress mites on worker brood (Wr) to be a main factor of resistance, we evaluated the changes in mortality of mite offspring in worker and drone brood throughout a year in groups of Africanized and Africanized × European honeybee colonies, which have a similar level of mite resistance. The variation in the Wr was highly correlated with the mortality of the first (male) and the third (female) offspring (r2 = 0.67 and r2 = 0.53 respectively). Moreover, the fecundity of mites in single infested worker and drone cells was greater than in multiply infested cells. The Wr and the Dr decreased between cells infested by 1 and 3 foundresses (from 0.9 to 0.4 and from 1.8 to 0.9 respectively). These data show that in the honeybee population studied, mite reproduction is strongly affected by offspring mortality during certain periods of the year, and that it is probably dependent on the foundress density.

Key words: Varroa destructor / Apis mellifera / mite reproduction / resistance

Corresponding author: Rémy Vandame

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2006