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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Wausau, WI, USA

    Default Varroa mite lifespan

    What is the average lifespan of the varroa mite (Varroa destructor). It's a simple question that I don't have a answer to yet. I know they have a 12 day reproductive cycle, but not how long they can live. What got me thinking about this is; how long a break in brood rearing is necessary before all the adult mites die off?

    For example, if the mite only lives for a couple months, how can there be any mites left to reproduce after an extended break in brood rearing like we have in the cold northern states. My bees have all shut down brood rearing and won't start back up until late December or early January. This gives me a 2 month window in which there is no mite reproduction.

    If you know how long they can live for, let me know.


    Honey Luv Farm
    98 hives and growing

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA

    Default Re: Varroa mite lifespan

    Here's one reference from University of Florida to varroa lifespan:

    The phoretic period may last 4.5 to 11 days when brood is present in the hive or as long as five to six months during the winter when no brood is present in the hive. Consequently, female mites living when brood is present in the colony have an average life expectancy of 27 days, yet in the absence of brood, they may live for many months.
    The UoF link above is a fairly comprehensive review of varroa lifecycle, and includes some great photos.

    Clemson University has slightly different numbers:
    Life span of varroa females is reported to be 2-3 months in summer and 6-8 months in winter. Mite populations increase rapidly during the heavy brood rearing season.
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada

    Default Re: Varroa mite lifespan

    Up to 5 months on bees when no brood is present.

    Edit; remove non funtional link.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Concord, CA

    Default Re: Varroa mite lifespan

    When we have a broodless hive, I like to give them a powdered sugar dusting.
    You don't need something strong like AO drizzle when they are broodless.

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