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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Do we know how many foundress mites a brood cell can support versus a drone cell? By support I mean that the foundress mites are able to go on and successfully make more of the little bloodsuckers.
 

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Here's one study: Martin (1994, 1995) calculatedthe effective reproduction rate (i.e. the number of vial/mature daughters perinvading mother) as 1.3–1.45 in a single infested worker brood, while for dronebrood it was 2.2–2.6.
 

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It seems that "support" is a complicated issue. Since you are asking about foundress mites, that number is determined before the larger size of the drone cell is significant. What seems to be a key issue is that multiple foundress mites may result in the premature death of the bee pupa in the cell. That may mean the all/most the daughter mites do not emerge alive.

More on this topic:
http://www2.unine.ch/repository/def...Guerin 1996 Varroa jacobsoni Ecol Entomol.pdf
Note that in that document, searching (type "Control-F") for the keyword "multi" seems to yield the best results.
 

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If I were guessing (which is exactly what I'm doing), I say typically more than one and usually less than ten....for either drone or worker. Way too many variables. Why do you ask?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks guys I am going to read these when the kids are in bed. I have heard of the Huang article, but not the other one. I ask because I am curious if the benefit of brood breaks in the North is caused by: Multiple mites entering cells from the new queen and (because of the competition) starving out; The grooming of the exposed mites by the workers; Splits dividing the mites - if splits are made; The new queen outlaying the mites versus an older queen slowing down; Or something else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Neil, I can't. It is at least "R" rated reading. It is full of incest, and gross images of sex on piles of poop. Varroa is a nightmare on many levels.:eek:
 

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I pulled some drone come apart two days ago from a hive that hasn't been treated yet this year. Counted 9 mites in a single capped drone cell. Still a strong hive. For now.
 
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