Wageningen Plant Research, part of Wageningen University & Research
Droevendaalsesteeg 1
6708 PB
Yes: Meat
Selection for honey bee survival and vitality without Varroa mite control creates Varroa resistant populations
Blacquière; Tjeerd; Wageningen Plant Research WUR; Wageningen; The Netherlands;
Panziera; Delphine; Wageningen Plant Research WUR; Wageningen; The Netherlands;

Since 2008 two populations of honeybee colonies have been subjected to natural selection pressure by the Varroa mite. From one of these populations 20 colonies have been separated from the beginning, and serve as a control group, in which the mite has been controlled twice a year. Mating of each population took place at a remote area, within the population. The colonies were selected for good growth, winter survival and spring development including reproductive output (male and female). After > five years of ongoing selection these populations show varroa resistance, proven by reduced colony losses, moderate varroa infestation levels and slow mite population growth, all in comparison to the control colonies.

Mechanisms involved in the resistance have been shown to include reduced mite reproduction (both fertility and fecundity impaired) and varroa sensitive hygienic behaviour. Grooming (of mites) behaviour had not increased, and none of the populations showed increased hygienic behaviour in response to pin-killed or freeze killed brood.

Apart from the two authors mentioned, Willem Boot, Johan Calis, Chula Hokahin, Arnout berendsen, Astrid Kruitwagen, Michiel Glorius, Thijs Gerritsen, Anne van Woerkom, Janse Heijn, Jolanda Tom & Janneke Elderson contributed to the research.


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