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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Evaluations of the Varroa-Resistance of Honey Bees Imported from Far-Eastern Russia

Authors
item Rinderer, Thomas
item Delatte, Gary
item De Guzman, Lilia
item Williams, Jon
item Stelzer, John
item Kuznetsov, Victor - RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENC

Submitted to: American Bee Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 1, 1999
Publication Date: April 1, 1999
Citation: RINDERER, T.E., DELATTE, G.T., DEGUZMAN, L.I., WILLIAMS, J.L., STELZER, J.A., KUZNETSOV, V.N., EVALUATIONS OF THE VARROA-RESISTANCE OF HONEY BEES IMPORTED FROM FAR-EASTERN RUSSIA, AMERICAN BEE JOURNAL, 1999, VOL. 139, pgs. 287-290, EDITION #4.

Interpretive Summary: Honey bee queens were imported from far-eastern Russia because they were potentially resistant to Varroa jacobsoni and evaluated for resistance to varroa using U.S. mites in U.S. conditions. Comparisons were made between actual mite population growth in Russian colonies and an 11.4 fold mite growth estimated for non- resistant colonies using a mathematical model. Many of the Russian colonies showed a remarkably high degree of resistance. Forty of them were selected to be breeders to produce further generations of Russian colonies. A companion experiment using propagated daughter queens of Russian stock evaluated comparative honey production and further evaluated Varroa jacobsoni resistance. Russian and domestic colonies of honey bees produced similar amounts of honey. At the end of the honey production season, daughters of Russian queens selected as breeders had a much lower worker brood infestation than either daughters of Russian queens not selected as breeders or domestic colonies. This result indicates that the resistance is heritable. These results indicate the need for a large scale field trial to evaluate the overall commercial value of the Russian stock.

Technical Abstract: One hundred honey bee queens were imported from far-eastern Russia because they were potentially resistant to Varroa jacobsoni. Colonies that were produced by these queens were rigorously evaluated for their ability to retard the population growth of Varroa jacobsoni. Comparisons were made between actual mite population growth and an 11.4 fold mite growth for non-resistant colonies provided by a mathematical model. Forty colonies were selected to be breeders to produce further selected generations. These colonies averaged a 3.9 fold increase in mite populations. A companion experiment using propagated queens of Russian stock evaluated comparative honey production and further evaluated Varroa jacobsoni resistance. Russian and domestic colonies of honey bees produced similar amounts of honey. At the end of the honey production season, daughters of Russian queens selected as breeders had a 4.1% worker brood infestation, daughters of Russian queens not selected as breeders had a 7.1% worker infestation and domestic colonies had a 9.3% infestation, suggesting the resistance was heritable.

Last Modified: 11/26/2014
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