Are Varroa jacobsoni and Varroa destructor the same bug? Does that make any practical difference to the hobbyist?
From my point of view living in a place where there really only is one kind of Varroa it really doesn't matter, but actually they are two different things.
Early in this document it says "Varroa destructor previously known as Varroa jacobsoni" but futher on in the same document it says:
"Recently, Anderson and Trueman (2000), after studying mtDNA Co-I gene sequences and morphological characters of many populations
of V. jacobsoni from different parts of the world including Australia but not New Zealand, considered it to be a species complex and split it into two species. Varroa jacobsoni s.s. infests Apis cerana F. in the Malaysia-Indonesia region. Varroa destructor Anderson & Trueman, 2000 infests its natural host A. cerana on mainland Asia and also A. mellifera L. worldwide."
So technically they are different, but the what was refered to as Varroa jacobsoni is now refered to as Varroa destructor, so old documents refering to Varroa here in the US or other places will use one and newer ones will use the other. Since only Varroa destructor has spread worldwide, I think, for now, it's irelevant to us.
The difference between them is so technical that it doesn't really matter as far as pest control is concerned. Kill it first and worry about taxonomy aterwards; the only good varroa is a dead one as far as we're concerned.
Darwin has an interesting perspective on pests, diseases and predetors.
That which kills a thing, improves that thing's race.
Not a direct quote, but most definately a darwinian perspective.
This is a double edged sword for us, varroa killing colonies of bees, helps improve the bee. We killing varroa helps improve the mite.
Hmm.....crappy situation to be in for a beekeeper.
Scot Mc Pherson
"Linux is a Journey, not a Guided Tour" ~ Me
"Do or not do, there is no try" ~ Master Yoda
[This message has been edited by Scot Mc Pherson (edited February 16, 2004).]
The difference is NOT "technical" at all.
The difference can be seen with ease.
Jacobsoni are nearly round, while destructor
are ellipical in shape. Destructor is also larger (when comparing adults to adults).
This semi-famous set of mug shots has appeared all over, but I have no idea who made the photos:
Everthing I'd seen before showed they could only really tell the difference with mitochondrial DNA. But the pictures look different.
The end result is still that they USED to call them all Varroa jacobsoni. So a lot of liturature still available about the Varroa that we deal with, calls them Varroa jacobsoni. Now the name has officially changed for the one we (and most of the world) have and it is now officially Varroa destructor. All the Varroa we have ever seen were the same ones (now called Varroa destructor) but the literature may call them by either name depending on how up to date it was. The Varroa didn't change. They just changed their name. WE don't deal with two different kinds. Just one kind. And you may hear it called by either name.
Is that clear enough?
Sort of like the artist formely known as Pr|nce.
But he's known as prince again...
I gotta go rub my temples.
I like to refer to him as "the artist formerly known as 'the artist formerly know as' Pr|nce"
The misspelling is on purpsoe since I hear he often threatens to sue anyone who doesn't refer to him appropriately and I would prefer a search didn't turn up this site.
I agree that the difference between the Varroa species is easy enough to see with high magnification, but how many beekeepers are going to go to those lengths anyway? For practical purposes, a varroa is a varroa, and we either need to deal with it, or better, breed bees that can deal with it. Nobody noticed the difference in shape between the species until some pretty detailed work was done on their taxonomy, and if it eluded the specialists for years, it will certainly elude most of us.
More to the point, Varroa destructor is the
mite that has spread beyond SE Asia, while
Varroa jacobsoni has not been found to be
spreading outside of SE Asia (at least to
So, unless you are in SE Asia, and are
looking at Apis cerana, I'd bet any amount
of money you'd care to wager that you are
looking at Varroa destructor.
And yeah, my view towards varroa is to
"kill 'em all, and let God sort 'em out",
but I feel certain that they never meet
God when they pass into the next world.
I think that they are sorted out in a
much warmer place, one more fitting for
Well, I find the difference interesting! As someone once said, "Know your enemy!"
I have spent a considerable amount of time looking at the shape of varroa recently after a holiday in Kerala, S. India. I wanted to know if the varroa found there (on mellifera introduced in the early 90's) is the same beast that we have here.
Examining mites from the dorsal viewpoint, I was surprised at the variation, finding it impossible to decide whether I was looking at v.j. or v.d. However, the ventral view was much more consistent with v.d. in all the mites - the ventral plate is broader and the legs, for want of a better description, set in a shallower arc.
I would also agree that attempts to simply kill the mites will result (has resulted!) in our aiding selection - we now have pyrethroid resistant mites, just as there is now OTC resistant AFB; will some of us ever learn?
Any mites you see anywhere in the world except Malaysia or Indonesia, are what USED to be called V Jacobsoni and are NOW called V Destructor. NONE of the mites in the world at large are V Jacobsoni! The mites that are endemic in most of the world are now called V Destructor and the name V Jacobsoni only applies (now) to a limited population in a limited part of the world. (the Malaysia-Indonesia region)
I know this is confusing because early documents all called them V Jcobsoni, but unless you found mites in that part of the world you have not seen a Varroa Jacobsoni.
So there is no point, at this point in time, in worrying about V Jacobsoni, unless you live in Malaysia or Indonesia and raise Apis Cerana.