The Effect of The Size of Honey Bee Cells on The Rate of Infestation by Varroa Jacobsoni

Apiacta #2, Feb., 1984


Varroa jacobsoni, an ectoparasite mite of Apis, causes serious damage to colonies of A. mellifera while in those of A. cerana, the original host, this is not the case. Koeniger et al. (1981) observed that in A. cerana the mites only reproduce in drone cells, while in A. mellifera there is reproduction in both worker and drone cells. It’s possible that the resistance of A. cerena to this mite is due to this biological characteristic.

Based on this information and knowing that the cells of workers of Africanized bees are smaller than those of European bees, we examined the infestation rate and reproduction of Varroa in small pieces (+/-300 cells) of Africanized and Italian built combs.

The worker combs of Africanized bees had a mean of 4.50 to 4.77 mm and a volume of 0.187 ml, while for Italian bees the values were 5.07 to 5.11 and 0.255.

The mean weight of 18-19-day old Africanized worker pupae was 94.6 mg, and their infestation rate was 4.8%, while for Italians the mean weight was 111.7 mg, and 11.5% of the cells were infected.