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"We have previously proposed that the high susceptibility of A. cerana worker larvae to infestations with the invasive lineage of V. destructor is a form of suicide or social apoptosis that benefits the survival of the colony (Page et al., 2016). The physiological cause for high brood susceptibility to infestation by the invasive lineage of V. destructor needs to be elucidated to determine whether this trait originates from cellular apoptosis or from other mechanisms. For instance, repeating our experiment with mites of the Korean haplotype collected from A. cerana colonies, which are in general infected by fewer viruses (Yañez et al., 2016) is necessary to determine the potential role of the viruses in abnormal brood development (Mondet et al., 2016). Viruses generally occur at high loads in A. mellifera colonies and in the mites parasitizing them (Berthoud, Imdorf, Haueter, Radloff, & Neumann, 2010; Gisder, Aumeier, & Genersch, 2009; Tentcheva et al., 2004) and could disturb physiological processes in the brood (Francis, Nielsen, & Kryger, 2013; Highfield et al., 2009; Shen, Yang, Cox‐Foster, & Cui, 2005). Irrespectively of its proximate mechanisms, brood susceptibility can easily be maintained or self‐sacrifice can easily evolve in eusocial groups as the potential benefit acquired at the colony level from removing abnormal individuals to prevent future spread of pathogens and parasites can outweigh the costs at the individual bee level (Kralj & Fuchs, 2006; Page et al., 2016; Rueppell, Hayworth, & Ross, 2010; Smith Trail, 1980). Indeed, the high plasticity of social organization typical of honeybees allows for a rapid response of colonies to demographic changes, including losses of large proportions of its members that are rapidly compensated for (Shorter & Rueppell, 2012; Smith Trail, 1980)." source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5817142/
 

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Hi Eduardo, This has been known for some time, the problem is how to get Apis Melifera to do the same. This has also brought about the theory that mites prefer drone brood which I believe has not been proven. I believe mites in Cerana still try to breed in worker brood but they die with the larvae. I wonder if this also effects the size of the Cerana colonies.
Johno
 

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Hi Johno. Although the authors mention that this mechanism can evolve in other eusocial species, I do not know anything very convincing about the appearance of this behavioral trait in a generalized way in A. mellifera. Regarding the preference (or not) of varroa for drone brood this article does not respond to this aspect, but it does mention that in A. cerana a varroa try to breed in worker brood and not only in drone brood, if I read it correctly.
 
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