Hygienic behaviour of Apis mellifera iberica against brood cells artifically infested with varroa
José M Flores; José A Ruiz; José M Ruz; Francisco Puerta; Manuel Bustos
Hygienic behaviour forms one of the bases of tolerance of the Asian honey bee (Apis cerana) to varroa. This behaviour can also play an important role in the tolerance of the European honey bee (A. mellifera) towards the mite. The hygienic behavioural response of bees over a period of 24 h towards worker brood cells of A. mellifera iberica artificially infested with Varroa was studied. When bees detected cells containing mites, in some instances both brood and mites were removed, whereas in others only the mite was removed. When a single mite was placed in each cell, hygienic behaviour was not induced, only 0.74% of infested cells had mites removed. Using two or three mites per cell, this response increased significantly, with 8.01% and 16.62% of infested cells with mites removed, respectively. A positive correlation (P < 0.05, r= 0.49) was found in hygienic behaviour towards cells artificially infested with two or three mites. A second experiment was conducted to compare the response of bees to live or dead mites inoculated into the cells. When three mites were placed in each cell, no difference in response to dead or live mites was observed (P =0.686).