The reproductive rate of Varroa destructor in drone brood of Africanized honey bees
R. A. Calderón, L.G. Zamora and J.W. van Veen
The reproductive rate of Varroa destructor was measured in drone brood of Africanized honey bees (AHB) in Costa Rica. One mature female mite was introduced into a drone cell within 6 h of the cell being capped. Data were obtained from 304 artificially singly infested drone cells from six colonies. Fertility of varroa mites (i.e., those that produced any offspring) was 95.1%. Fifty–three percent of the foundress mites produced viable female offspring. The number of potentially mated female offspring produced per foundress was 2.6 ± 1.0. Eight percent of foundresses produced only immature offspring, 26.5% produced only a female offspring and 7.6% produced only a male offspring. In cells with both female and male offspring, the male or the female was found dead in 8.7% of the cases; male mortality was 6.1%. Although varroa fertility in drone brood was significant in AHB colonies, factors that limited mite reproduction were the absence of a male and the mortality of a male in more than 26.0% of the drone cells.