Submitted to: Bee Culture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 2, 2011
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
Citation: Sylvester, H.A., Bourgeois, A.L., De Guzman, L.I., Rinderer, T.E. 2011. Presence of Russian honey bee genotypes in swarms in Louisiana. Notes Science of Bee Culture 3(1):9-10; supplement to Bee Culture 139(3). Interpretive Summary: This research examines the effect of Varroa-mite-resistant ARS-developed Russian honey bees on feral populations of honey bees. This was done by determining the presence of Russian honey bee genotypes in swarms captured in an area surrounding apiaries containing Russian and Italian honey bees. A significant percentage (19%) of the swarms was Russian or hybrid. Thus, ARS-developed Russian honey bees are contributing mite-resistant genotypes to the regeneration of the feral population of honey bees in the United States. This will benefit growers who depend on feral bees for pollination, as well as contributing mite-resistant drones to mate with virgin queens from managed colonies.
Technical Abstract: Swarm traps were placed in an area around USDA, ARS apiaries near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which had contained ARS Russian and other honey bees for several years. Eighty swarms were sampled and analyzed for their genotype (Russian, hybrid or non-Russian) and mite infestation percentages. Ten swarms were Russian, 15 were hybrid and 55 were non-Russian. There was no significant correlation between genotype and mite infestation percentage. This demonstrates that ARS Russian bees are contributing to regenerating the feral honey bee population in areas where they are being kept.