Free Access
Volume 32, Number 6, November-December 2001
Page(s) 567 - 575
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2001144

Apidologie 32 (2001) 567-575

Honey bee colony mortality and productivity with single and dual infestations of parasitic mite species

Danielle L. Downey and Mark L. Winston

Department of Biological Sciences, 8888 University Drive, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada

(Received 22 June 1999; revised 23 August 2000; accepted 28 August 2001)

Colony mortality and productivity were compared between honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies infested by zero, one or both species of parasitic mites (Acarapis woodi or Varroa destructor). Mortality, bee and mite populations, sealed brood, and stores were monitored for 16 months, beginning in May. By the following March, 5 out of 6 colonies with both mites were dead, but no other colonies died until September, when 3 out of 4 V. destructor colonies were dead. Dually infested colonies initially had more honey stores, but were dead by March. At that point V. destructor colonies had significantly less worker brood, fewer adult bees and more honey than colonies with no mites or tracheal mites (Acarapis woodi). The colonies with tracheal mites (n = 9) and no mites (n = 8) did not differ in any productivity parameter measured. These results suggest a synergistic interaction between tracheal and V. destructor mites, treatments against tracheal mites should be applied in dually infested colonies, even if tracheal mites alone are not having an impact.

Key words: Varroa destructor / Acarapis woodi / colony productivity / colony mortality

Correspondence and reprints: Mark L. Winston

© INRA, EDP Sciences, DIB, AGIB 2001