Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Mites of the Honey Bee: We Take a Breif Overview of the Origin of Parasitic Honey Bee Mites and How They Fit into the Scheme of Things

item Sammataro, Diana

Submitted to: Trade Journal Publication
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 30, 2005
Publication Date: January 3, 2006
Citation: Sammataro, D. Mies of the honey bee. 2006. Bee Craft. (January) 15-19.

Interpretive Summary: There are many mites that are associated with honey bees. Only four genera of mites are parasitic on bees, and three are in the suborber Mesostigmata, and are threatening the bee industry today. These Mesostigmatid mites are known for their lateral peritremes, which may function as an extension of the breathing stagmata, and serve as a kind of back-up system if the stigmata get blocked. In Varroa, the peritreme may help the mite breathe when she hides in the brood food of the bee larvae. Second, the life cycle in Mesostigmata consists of a larvae, a protonymph, a deutonymph and an adult. Their origin is from mites in soil habitats that moved off of the soil inadvertently by hitching a ride (known as phoresy) on other life forms. Over time, mites were transferred to other locations (including bee colonies) and adapted to their new homes. Three mite genera are important bee mites. They include: Troplilaelaps, the newest honey bee pest that is currently in S.E. Asia and is now found on all Asian honey bees as well as the European honey bee that is within their range. The other two are the Varroa and Euvarroa bee mites.

Technical Abstract: Mites exploit any habitat in which animals or plants can live, and they are rival insects in the diversity of living sites and life cycles. Mites are found in soil, in water (fresh and salt), in and on plants, arthropods, vertebrates and invertebrates. They are found in polar extremes and desert environments. The taxonomic nomenclature of mites is usually organized into Superorder, Order, Suborder, Cohort (or group) and Superfamily. The Order Parasitiformes, includes ticks and the Mesostigmata, the latter of which consists of the more important bee mites. This paper summarizes the Varroa, Euvarroa, and Troplilaelaps bee mites.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
Footer Content Back to Top of Page