Free Access
Volume 32, Number 4, July-August 2001
Page(s) 381 - 394
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2001138

Apidologie 32 (2001) 381-394

Resistance to the parasitic mite Varroa destructor in honey bees from far-eastern Russia

Thomas E. Rinderera, Lilia I. de Guzmana, G.T. Delattea, J.A. Stelzera, V.A. Lancasterb, V. Kuznetsovc, L. Beamana, R. Wattsa and J.W. Harrisa

a  USDA-ARS Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics & Physiology Laboratory, 1157 Ben Hur Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70820-5502, USA
b  Neptune & Company, Inc. 1505 15th Street, Suite B, Los Alamos, NM 87544, USA
c  Institute of Biology and Pedology, Far East Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladivostok 690022, Russia

(Received 15 February 2001; revised and accepted 18 May 2001)

Varroa destructor is a parasitic mite of the Asian honey bee, Apis cerana. Owing to host range expansion, it now plagues Apis mellifera, the world's principal crop pollinator and honey producer. Evidence from A. mellifera in far-eastern Russia, Primorsky (P) originating from honey bees imported in the mid 1800's, suggested that many colonies were resistant to V. destructor. A controlled field study of the development of populations of V. destructor shows that P colonies have a strong, genetically based resistance to the parasite. As control colonies (D) were dying with infestations of ca. 10000 mites, P colonies were surviving with infestations of ca. 4000 mites. Several characteristics of the P bees contributed to suppressing the number of mites parasitizing their colonies.

Key words: Apis mellifera / mite resistance / Varrao destructor / Russia / disease resistance / natural selection

Correspondence and reprints: Thomas E. Rinderer

© INRA, EDP Sciences, DIB, AGIB 2001