Free Access
Volume 39, Number 5, September-October 2008
Page(s) 481 - 487
Published online 28 October 2008
Apidologie 39 (2008) 481-487
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2008030

Bee-to-bee contact drives oxalic acid distribution in honey bee colonies

Nicholas P. Aliano and Marion D. Ellis

Department of Entomology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 202 Plant Industry Building, Lincoln, NE 68583-0816, USA

Received 18 July 2007 – Revised 7 February 2008 – Accepted 18 March 2008 - Published online 28 October 2008

Abstract - Nine divided hives were constructed to study the distribution of oxalic acid (OA). Experimental colonies were split into two equal, queenright sections with one of three divider types. The first divider allowed trophallaxis to occur between adult bees on each side, but did not allow bee-to-bee contact. The second divider did not allow trophallaxis or bee-to-bee contact. The third divider allowed both bee-to-bee contact and trophallaxis between the two sides. All three dividers allowed gas exchange of volatile materials. The objective was to investigate factors that contribute to the distribution of OA in a hive by monitoring Varroa destructor mortality. Forty mL of a 3.5% OA sugar water solution was trickled on one side of the divider. Sticky boards were used to quantify mite fall before, during, and after OA treatment on both treated and untreated sides. Trophallactic interactions and fumigation did not significantly influence the distribution of OA. Bee-to-bee contact was the primary route for OA distribution.

Key words: Varroa destructor / Apis mellifera / oxalic acid / mode of action / distribution

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2008