Development of infestations by Varroa jacobsoni in hybrid colonies of Apis mellifera monticola and Apis mellifera ligustica

publication date: Dec 21, 2010
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Journal of Apicultural Research
Vol. 30 (3-4) pp. 151-55
Date
December 1991
Article Title

Development of infestations by Varroa jacobsoni in hybrid colonies of Apis mellifera monticola and Apis mellifera ligustica

Author(s)

Bert Thrybom; Ingemar Fries

Abstract

Semen and eggs from Apis mellifera monticola colonies, collected at 3500 m above sea level on Mount Elgon in Kenya, were brought to Sweden. Queens were raised from the imported eggs and inseminated with the imported semen. From the inseminated queens, pure A. m. monticola daughters were raised and inseminated with semen from A. m. ligustica. Daughters of these F1 hybrids were again inseminated with pure A. m. monticola semen, yielding hybrid colonies with worker bees related by descent by 0.75 to the A. m. monticola stock. The development of induced Varroa jacobsoni infestations (282.0 ± 20.9 mites, x± s.e., n = 5) was investigated in hybrid colonies and compared to the development in A. m. Iigustica colonies (controls). The percentage of infertile Varroa females in infested cells was higher (P < 0.05, t-test) in the hybrid colonies (24.3 ± 5.0, x± s.e., n = 5) than in the ligustica colonies (7.8 ± 2.8, x± s.e., n = 4). No significant difference between the experimental groups was found in number of eggs laid per fertile Varroa female (P > 0.05, t-test). The length of the post-capping period was not investigated separately, but in combs from monticola colonies bees began to emerge from cells 19 days after egg-laying, as opposed to 20 days in the ligustica combs. At the end of the experiment, 101 days after mite introduction, the hybrid colonies contained 390.8 ± 98.5, and the control colonies 1354.5 ± 91.0, mites (x ± s.e.). The negative characteristics reported for A. m. scutellata x European A. mellifera hybrids, such as agressiveness and absconding, were not seen in the monticola hybrids, and the potential of A. m. monticola in selection work for Varroa mite resistance should be evaluated

Keywords

honey bees, hybrids, Apis mellifera monticola, Apis mellifera Iigustica, Varroa jacobsoni, resistance, fertility, host parasite relationships

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