, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 171-176

Single and dual parasitic mite infestations on the honey bee, Apis mellifera L.

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Summary:

The onset of foraging, proportion of pollen collectors, and weight of pollen loads were compared in individual honey bees (Apis mellifera) infested by zero, one (Acarapis woodi, the honey bee tracheal mite, or Varroa jacobsoni,varroa), or both species of parasitic mites. Phoretic varroa host choice also was compared between bees with and without tracheal mites, and tracheal mite infestation of hosts was compared between bees parasitized or not by varroa during development. The proportion of pollen collectors was not significantly different between treatments, but bees parasitized by both mites had significantly smaller pollen loads than uninfested bees. Mean onset of foraging was earliest for bees parasitized by varroa during development, 15.9 days. Bees with tracheal mites began foraging latest, at 20.5 days, and foraging ages were intermediate in bees with no mites and both, 17.6 and 18.0 days respectively. Phoretic varroa were found equally on bees with and without tracheal mite infestations, but bees parasitized by varroa during development were almost twice as likely to have tracheal mite infestations as bees with no varroa parasitism, 63.9 % and 35.5 %, respectively. These results indicate that these two parasites can have a biological interaction at the level of individual bees that is detrimental to their host colonies.

Received 3 February 1999; revised 20 October 1999; accepted 10 November 1999.