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A comparative study of Varroa jacobsoni reproduction in worker cells of honey bees in England and Africanized bees in Yucatan, Mexico



A comparative study of Varroa jacobsoni reproduction in worker cells of honey bees in England and Africanized bees in Yucatan, Mexico



Experimental & Applied Acarology 23(8): 659-667



The aim of this study was to investigate an underlying mechanism of the apparent tolerance of Africanized honey bees (AHB) to Varroa jacobsoni mites in Mexico. This was achieved by conducting the first detailed study into the mites' reproductive biology in AHB worker cells. The data was then compared directly with a similar study previously carried out on European honey bees (EHB) in the UK. A total of 1071 singly infested AHB worker cells were analyzed and compared with the data from 908 singly infested EHB worker cells. There was no significant difference between the number of mother mites dying in the cells (AHB = 2.0%, EHB = 1.8%); the mean number of eggs laid per mite (AHB = 4.86, EHB = 4.93); the number of mites producing no offspring (AHB = 12%, EHB = 9%); and developmental times of the offspring in worker cells of AHB and EHB. However, there was a major difference between the percentage of mother mites producing viable adult female offspring (AHB = 40%, EHB = 75%). This was caused by the increased rate of mite offspring mortality suffered by the first (male) and second (female) offspring in AHB worker cells. Therefore, only an average of 0.7 viable adult female offspring are produced per mite in AHB, compared to 1.0 in EHB.

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