Experimental & Applied Acarology

, Volume 25, Issue 7, pp 593–603 | Cite as

The Role of Cuticular Compounds in the Resistance of Honey Bees (Apis Mellifera) to Tracheal Mites (Acarapis Woodi)

  • Dennis van Engelsdorp
  • Gard W. Otis


This study examined the migration of tracheal mites (Acarapis woodi) into honey bees (Apis mellifera) from different colonies and the relative attraction of mites to hexane extracts from the external body surfaces of young bees. Relative resistance of bees from different colonies initially was assessed with a field bioassay that involved tagging newly emerged bees, pooling them in heavily mite-infested colonies, retrieving them 7 days later, and examining them for tracheal mite prevalence and abundance. For those colonies identified as most resistant and least resistant, cuticular chemicals were extracted in hexane from frozen, newly emerged worker bees. These extracts were presented to individual tracheal mites in pairwise fashion in a laboratory bioassay. The results demonstrated that mites prefer extracts of bees from some colonies more than others, however, no consistent differences were demonstrated. Our inability to predict mite responses to extracts based on our initial assessment of relative resistance indicates that other mechanisms of resistance influence mite success in colonizing new host bees.

honey bees Apis mellifera tracheal mites Acarapis woodi cuticular chemicals mite resistance hydrocarbons 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dennis van Engelsdorp
    • 1
  • Gard W. Otis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental BiologyUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

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