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The parasitic mite Varroa destructor is a serious threat for western honey bee colonies and beekeepers are compelled to control it to keep their colonies healthy. Yet, by controlling varroa no resistance to the parasite can evolve. As a trial, honey bee colonies have been left untreated in isolated locations to allow development of resistance or tolerance to the mite. These colonies developed an ability to live without control measures against varroa, although the traits responsible for this resistance or tolerance are still unclear. Two of these resistant populations have been studied to test the involvement of specific varroa mite targeted hygienic behaviour varroa sensitive hygiene (VSH) in the acquired resistance. Individual mites were manually introduced into just capped brood cells, after which the brood combs were placed in colonies of the two resistant populations and in control colonies in which varroa had always been controlled. We followed the development of the mites, including possible removals. We found that VSH had increased strongly in one of the selections, up to 40% of the infested cells with mites and pupae were removed, but it had decreased in the other selection, compared to the control colonies. Further we could not conclude from our data that VSH only or preferentially targets reproducing mites, leaving non-reproducing mites undisturbed. The different VSH responses between the two selected resistant honey bee populations lead to conclude that more than one mechanism of resistance may evolve in response to the selection pressure by varroa mites.
|Translated title of the contribution||La higiene sensible a Varroa contribuye a la resistencia a varroa naturalmente seleccionada en abejas melíferas|
|Journal||Journal of Apicultural Research|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|
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