Free Access
Volume 36, Number 1, January-March 2005
Page(s) 97 - 105
Published online 16 March 2005
Apidologie 36 (2005) 97-105
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2004073

Brood pupation temperature affects the susceptibility of honeybees (Apis mellifera) to infestation by tracheal mites (Acarapis woodi)

John B. McMullan and Mark J.F. Brown

Department of Zoology, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland

(Received 12 March 2004 - Revised 1 July 2004 - Accepted 26 July 2004; Published online: 16 March 2005)

Abstract - An assessment was made of tracheal mite susceptibility in honeybees pupated at a low temperature. Using a laboratory bioassay, an experiment was conducted to compare the performance of newly-emerged (callow) bees raised at 30 ºC with those raised at the more normal brood temperature of 34 ºC. The reduced temperature caused a delay of over 5 days in the emergence of the bees from the brood cells. The callow bees raised at 30 ºC had over twice the mite prevalence level. The fecundity of the mites in the tracheae was similar for both temperature conditions. Increased susceptibility to tracheal mites resulting from reduced brood temperature may help to explain the mortality, in the temperature-stressed late winter/early spring period, of colonies with a moderate mite infestation in autumn. Further work is required to identify the mechanism responsible for this increased susceptibility.

Key words: Apis mellifera / Acarapis woodi / tracheal mite / brood temperature / susceptibility to infestation

Corresponding author: John B. McMullan

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2005