Brood cell size of Apis mellifera modifies the reproductive behavior of Varroa destructor
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- Maggi, M., Damiani, N., Ruffinengo, S. et al. Exp Appl Acarol (2010) 50: 269. doi:10.1007/s10493-009-9314-7
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We undertook a field study to determine whether comb cell size affects the reproductive behavior of Varroa destructor under natural conditions. We examined the effect of brood cell width on the reproductive behavior of V. destructor in honey bee colonies, under natural conditions. Drone and worker brood combs were sampled from 11 colonies of Apis mellifera. A Pearson correlation test and a Tukey test were used to determine whether mite reproduction rate varied with brood cell width. Generalized additive model analysis showed that infestation rate increased positively and linearly with the width of worker and drone cells. The reproduction rate for viable mother mites was 0.96 viable female descendants per original invading female. No significant correlation was observed between brood cell width and number of offspring of V. destructor. Infertile mother mites were more frequent in narrower brood cells.