Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 371–393 | Cite as

Time-activity budgets and space structuring by the different life stages ofVarroa jacobsoni in capped brood of the honey bee,Apis mellifera

  • Gérard Donzé
  • Patrick M. Guerin


Varroa jacobsoni reproduces in honey bee brood cells. Here the behavioral activity and use of space by infestingVarroa females and progeny were quantified in transparent artificial brood cells. The time-activity budget of both infesting and developing mites converged toward a stable pattern which was established during the bee prepupal stage of the infesting mites and the protonymphal stage of mite progeny. The pattern was such that infesting females and offspring eventually divided their activity between the fecal accumulation on the cell wall, which served as the rendezvous site for newly molted individuals, and the feeding site prepared on the pupa by the foundress. Other parts of the cell wall were used for oviposition and molting, away from the fecal accumulation on which activity of mobile stages was concentrated. Space structuring and the time-activity budget inVarroa probably evolved to enhance the number of fertilized females produced within the capped brood, where space and time are limiting factors. These behavioral adaptations parallel those of other mite species which show group behavior within cavities.

Key words

Varroa jacobsoni Acari behavior reproduction molting development 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Akimov, I. A., Pileckaja, I. P., and Yastrebtsov, A. V. (1990). Der Reproduktionszyklus der MilbeVarroa jacobsoni und ihre Beziehung zum Wirt.Vestnik Zool. 2: 41–46 (translated from Russian).Google Scholar
  2. Blaney, W. M., Schoonhoven, L. M., and Simmonds, M. S. J. (1986). Sensitivity variations in insect chemoreceptors: A review.Experientia 42: 13–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Buskirk, R. E. (1981). Sociality in the Arachnida. In Hermann, H. R. (ed.),Social Insects, Vol. II, Academic Press, New York, London, Toronto, Sydney, San Francisco, pp. 281–367.Google Scholar
  4. Dade, H. A. (1962).Anatomy and Dissection of the Honey Bee, Bee Research Association (IBRA), London.Google Scholar
  5. Donzé, G. (1995).Behavioural Attributes of the Parasitic Mite Varroa jacobsoniDuring its Reproductive Phase in the Brood of the Honey Bee Apis mellifera, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Neuch{ie392-1}tel, Neuch{ie392-2}tel.Google Scholar
  6. Donzé, G., and Guerin, P. M. (1994). Behavioral attributes and parental care ofVarroa mites parasitizing honeybee brood.Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 34: 305–319.Google Scholar
  7. Donzé, G., Herrmann, M., Bachofen, B., and Guerin, P. M. (1996). Effect of mating frequency and brood cell infestation rate on the reproductive success of the honey bee parasiteVarroa jacobsoni.Ecol. Entomol. 21: 17–26.Google Scholar
  8. Frey, D. F., and Pimental, R. A. (1978). Principal component analysis and factor analysis. In Colgan, P. W. (ed.),Quantitative Ethology, John Wiley, New York, pp. 219–245.Google Scholar
  9. Fuchs, S., and Langenbach, K. (1989). Multiple infestation ofApis mellifera L. brood cells and reproduction inVarroa jacobsoni Oud.Apidologie 20: 257–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Infantidis, M. D. (1983). Ontogenesis of the miteVarroa jacobsoni in worker and drone honeybee brood cells.J. Apicult. Res. 23: 200–206.Google Scholar
  11. Jay, S. C. (1962). Prepupal and pupal ecdyses of the honeybee.J. Apicult. Res. 1: 14–18.Google Scholar
  12. Jay, S. C. (1964). The cocoon of the honeybeeApis mellifera L.Can. Entomol. 96: 784–792.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Klowden, M. J. (1990). The endogenous regulation of mosquito reproductive behavior.Experientia 46: 660–670.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Le Conte, Y., Arnold, G., Trouiller, J., Masson, C., Chappe, B., and Ourisson, G. (1989). Attraction of the parasitic miteVarroa to the drone larvae of honeybees by simple aliphatic esters.Science 245: 638–639.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Martin, S. J. (1995). Ontogenesis of the miteVarroa jacobsoni Oud. in drone brood of the honeybeeApis mellifera L. under natural conditions.Exp. Appl. Acarol. 19: 199–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Michener, Ch. D. (1974).The Social Behavior of the Bees. A Comparative Study, Belknap Press, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  17. Noldus, L. P. J. J. (1991). The observer: A software system for collection and analysis of observational data.Behav. Res. Methods Instrum. Comput. 23: 415–429.Google Scholar
  18. Rehm, S. M., and Ritter, W. (1989). Sequence of the sexes in the offspring inVarroa jacobsoni and the resulting consequences for the calculation of the developmental period.Apidologie 20: 339–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Rickli, M., Guerin, P. M., and Diehl, P. A. (1992). Palmitic acid released from honeybee worker larvae attracts the parasitic miteVarroa jacobsoni on a servosphere.Naturwissenschaften 79: 320–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Rickli, M., Diehl, P. A., and Guerin, P. M. (1994). Cuticle alkanes of honeybee larvae mediate arrestment of bee parasiteVarroa jacobsoni.J. Chem. Ecol. 20: 2437–2453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rosenkranz, P. (1990).Wirtsfaktoren in der Steuerung der Reproduktion der parasitischen Bienenmilbe Varroa jacobsoniin Völker von Apis mellifera, Ph.D. dissertation, University Tübingen, Tübingen.Google Scholar
  22. Saitò, Y. (1983). The concept of “life types” in Tetranychinae. An attempt to classify the spinning behavior of Tetranychinae.Acarologia 24: 377–391.Google Scholar
  23. Saitò, Y. (1986). Biparental defence in a spider mite (Acari: Tetranychidae) infesting Sasa bamboo.Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 18: 377–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Saitò, Y. (1997). Sociality and kin selection in Acari. In Choe, J. C., and Crespi, B. (eds.),The Evolution of Social Behavior in Insects and Arachnids, Cambridge University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  25. Scott, M. P., and Traniello, J. F. A. (1987). Behavioral cues trigger ovarian development in the burying beetle,Nicrophorus tomentosus.J. INsect Physiol. 33: 693–696.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Steiner, J., Dittman, F., Rosenkranz, P., and Engels, W. (1994). The first gonocycle of the parasite mite (Varroa jacobsoni) in relation to preimaginal development of its host, the honey bee (Apis mellifera carnica).Invert. Reprod. Dev. 25: 175–183.Google Scholar
  27. Treat, A. E. (1975).Mites of Moths and Butterflies, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY.Google Scholar
  28. Trouiller, J., Arnold, G., Chappe, B., Le Conte, Y., and Masson, C. (1992). Semiochemical basis of infestation of honey bee brood byVarroa jacobsoni.J. Chem. Ecol. 18: 2041–2053.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Tukey, J. W. (1977).Exploratory Data Analysis, Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA.Google Scholar
  30. Wilkinson, L. (1990).Sygraph: The System for Graphics, Systat Inc., Evanston, IL.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gérard Donzé
    • 1
  • Patrick M. Guerin
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ApicultureFederal Dairy Research InstituteLiebefeld-BernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of ZoologyUniversity of NeuchâtelNeuchâtelSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations