, Volume 42, Issue 5, pp 577–578 | Cite as

A scientific note: migration of tracheal mites (Acarapis woodi) to old winter honey bees

  • John B. McMullanEmail author
Scientific note

The tracheal mite, Acarapis woodi, has been widely studied since it was first discovered in 1919 (Rennie et al. 1921). It is generally accepted that the mite migrates from an old host bee to a young bee less than 4 days old (Morgenthaler 1931; Bailey 1958; Gary et al. 1989). During winter months, however, there is evidence in temperate areas of mite prevalence levels increasing in infested colonies (Otis et al. 1988; JBMcM, unpublished data). In many cases, the levels have been observed to increase dramatically, and this at a time when there is no brood or young bees in the colony. While this may be explained by the unlikely event of uninfested bees dying, and at a greater rate than infested bees, a more likely explanation is that old bees are becoming infested.

There has been only one reported experiment to demonstrate that the tracheal mites will migrate to old bee hosts (Smith et al. 1991). However, the rate of migration was zero in one colony and only three out of 86 bees in a...


honey bee tracheal mite Acarapis woodi migration dispersal 



Thanks to Mark Brown for comments on the manuscript, and John and Dorothy Stapleton for access to honey bee colonies. Also, comments from two reviewers and Yves Le Conte made an important contribution to the manuscript.

Scientifique note: migration des acariens des trachées ( Acarapis woodi ) vers les abeilles âgées d’hiver.

Eine wissenschaftliche Notiz über die Migration von Tracheenmilben ( Acarapis woodi ) auf alte Honigbienen


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Copyright information

© INRA, DIB-AGIB and Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Natural Sciences, Department of ZoologyUniversity of Dublin Trinity CollegeDublin 2Ireland

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