Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 61, Issue 3, pp 207–215

Genetic bases of tolerance to Varroa destructor in honey bees (Apis mellifera L.)

Review Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00040-014-0347-5

Cite this article as:
Zakar, E., Jávor, A. & Kusza, S. Insect. Soc. (2014) 61: 207. doi:10.1007/s00040-014-0347-5


Currently, the Varroa destructor mite is the most serious parasite of honey bees (Apis mellifera) and has become a nearly cosmopolitan species. The mite not only causes damage by feeding on the haemolymph of honey bees, but it also transmits viruses, which have been implicated in colony collapse disorder. The major research goal has been to breed mite-tolerant honey bee lines in order to reduce the amount of pesticide used, because pesticides can promote the evolution of resistance in mites. In this review, we describe different behavioural traits and genes that may be part of the defence against the Varroa mite. Specifically, we review grooming behaviour, Varroa-sensitive hygiene and the suppression of mite reproduction. A large number of candidate genes have been identified by Quantitative Trait Loci studies, and through gene expression studies their function and effect have been elucidated. Results from the studies discussed can be used in apiary practice.


Varroa destructor Tolerance behaviours Candidate genes QTL Gene expression 

Copyright information

© International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Agricultural and Applied Economic ScienceUniversity of DebrecenDebrecenHungary

Personalised recommendations