Free access
Volume 37, Number 4, July-August 2006
Page(s) 471 - 479
Published online 17 May 2006
Apidologie 37 (2006) 471-479
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2006017

The role of autogrooming in the differential susceptibility to tracheal mite (Acarapis woodi) infestation of honeybees (Apis mellifera) held at both normal and reduced temperatures during pupation

John B. McMullan and Mark J.F. Brown

School of Natural Sciences, Department of Zoology, University of Dublin Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland

(Received 18 August 2005 - revised 7 November 2005 - accepted 21 November 2005 - published online 17 May 2006)

Abstract - In previous work we demonstrated that honeybees held at a reduced temperature (30 °C) during pupation, exhibited a significant increase in their susceptibility to tracheal mite infestation. Here, we investigated the potential role of grooming in producing this effect. We compared the susceptibility of bees with and without the mesotarsi of their thorax grooming legs, raised at the two pupation temperatures. (1) Bees held at normal pupation temperature. A colony with high susceptibility (low resistance) had little grooming ability while in a low susceptibility colony, grooming ability made a significant contribution to its reduced susceptibility. (2) Bees held at reduced pupation temperature. In a high susceptibility colony there was evidence that reduced grooming ability made little contribution to the increased infestation. This was in contrast to a low susceptibility colony raised at a reduced temperature where reduced grooming was implicated in the increased susceptibility.

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

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2006