BREEDING, GENETICS, STOCK IMPROVEMENT AND MANAGEMENT OF RUSSIAN HONEY BEES FOR MITE AND SMALL HIVE BEETLE CONTROL AND POLLINATION
Location: Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Research
Title: A method for rapidly marking adult varroa mites for use in brood inoculation experiments
Submitted to: Journal of Apicultural Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 1, 2012
Publication Date: April 2, 2012
Citation: Kirrane, M.J., De Guzman, L.I., Rinderer, T.E., Frake, A.M., Wagnitz, J.J., Whelan, P.M. 2012. A method for rapidly marking adult varroa mites for use in brood inoculation experiments. Journal of Apicultural Research. 51(2):212-213.
Interpretive Summary: This study determined the feasibility of using correction fluid as marker for varroa mites. Using a small piece of nylon fishing line attached to an applicator stick, a tiny droplet of the correction fluid was transferred onto the mite’s dorsum close to the posterior end. Our results showed that out of the 90 marked mites, about 47% were removed while only 15% (6 out of 40) of the unmarked mites were removed. Overall, 63.4% of the marked mites reproduced. Hence, reproduction of varroa was not affected by marking them with correction fluid. The mortality of marked mites was about 12% for the 9-day test period.
The use of correction fluid as a marker for varroa mites is a one step process that can be performed quickly and with relative ease. It dries relatively quickly which reduces the danger of the marking droplet running and damaging the mite. Nevertheless, care should be taken regarding the amount of mark put on the mite’s dorsal shield since larger droplets have the potential to damaging mites by covering their rectum. The correction fluid is also inexpensive and readily accessible.
We explored a method for marking varroa mites using correction fluid (PRESTO!TM Jumbo Correction Pen, Pentel Co., Ltd., Japan). Individual mites were placed on a piece of nylon mesh (165 mesh) to prevent the mites from moving during marking. A small piece of nylon fishing line (diameter = 0.30 mm) was attached to an applicator stick and used to transfer a tiny droplet of the correction fluid onto the mite’s dorsum close to the posterior end. The mites were then inoculated into mapped brood comb cells containing newly sealed honey bee larvae. In Trial 1, 80 varroa mites (40 marked and 40 unmarked) were inoculated while 50 marked mites were used in Trial 2. In addition, 50 brood cells were also opened and closed but without mite inoculation and 66 cells were not manipulated in Trial 2.
Our results showed that 40% (Trial 1) and 54% (Trial 2) of the marked mites were removed while only 15% of unmarked mites (Trial 1) were removed. Combining the two trials, overall 47% of marked mites were removed. This observation indicates that marking with correction fluid increased the likelihood of removal possibly due to the detection of the fluid’s odours. Overall, the reproduction of marked mites did not differ significantly from that of the unmarked mites. The use of correction fluid has advantages for marking varroa mites. It is a one step process that can be performed quickly and with relative ease for marking a group of mites with a single mark. Also, the correction fluid dries relatively quickly which reduces the danger of the marking droplet running and damaging the mite. The correction fluid is inexpensive and readily accessible. Being white, correction fluid marks are very noticeable to the naked eye during recovery.