Evaluation of traits for the selection of apis mellifera for resistance against varroa destructor

Ralph Büchler*, Marin Kovačić, Martin Buchegger, Zlatko Puškadija, Andreas Hoppe, Evert W. Brascamp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Infestation with Varroa destructor is a serious cause of bee colony (Apis mellifera) losses on a global level. However, the presence of untreated survivor populations in many different regions supports the idea that selection for resistance can be successful. As colony survival is difficult or impossible to measure, differences in mite infestation levels and tests for specific behavioral traits are used for selective breeding for Varroa resistance. In this paper we looked into different definitions of mite infestation and linked these with brood hygiene (pin test), brood recapping and suppressed mite reproduction. We based our analyses on datasets of Apis mellifera carnica from three countries: Austria (147 records), Croatia (135) and Germany (207). We concluded that bee infestation in summer, adjusted for the level of natural mite fall in spring, is a suitable trait in the breeding objective, and also suggested including brood infestation rate and the increase rate of bee infestation in summer. Repeatability for bee infestation rate was about 0.55, for cells opened in pin test about 0.33, for recapping 0.35 and for suppressed mite reproduction (SMR) virtually zero. Although in most cases we observed correlations with the expected sign between infestation parameters and behavioral traits, the values were generally low (<0.2) and often not significantly different from zero.

Original languageEnglish
Article number618
Number of pages20
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020


  • Breeding objective
  • Brood infestation
  • Brood recapping
  • Mite infestation
  • Performance test
  • Pin test
  • Repeatability
  • Suppressed mite reproduction (SMR)
  • Varroa resistance

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluation of traits for the selection of apis mellifera for resistance against varroa destructor'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this