Spatial distribution of recapping behaviour indicates clustering around Varroa infested cells

Grindrod, IR and Martin, SJ ORCID: 2021, 'Spatial distribution of recapping behaviour indicates clustering around Varroa infested cells' , Journal Apicultural Research, 60 (5) , pp. 707-716.

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Varroa destructor is arguably the most important threat to Apis mellifera honey bees. Despite the recentness of the invasion of Varroa, A. mellifera colonies naturally resistant to the mite are being observed in a growing number of populations across Europe, South Africa and Brazil. Appearing in concert with this resistance is an increase in the ability of workers to detect mite-infested cells, which is closely associated with the recapping of such cells. However, many non-infested cells are also uncapped and then recapped which would appear to be a waste of time and energy. In this study we looked at the spatial patterns of recapping and its association with Varroa infestation to understand in what way the uncapping of non-infested cells occurs. We found that recapping occurred in clusters consisting of infested cells and their surrounding non-infested cells. This helped explain our finding that a significant positive correlation existed between levels of recapped infested and non-infested cells. Furthermore, we found that bees responded to an artificial increase in the mite infestation level by increasing their recapping behaviour. We confirmed that the recapped area of non-infested cells was significantly smaller, relative to the holes made in the infested cells. Given these findings we propose that recapping behaviour is stimulated either by a diffuse signal emanating from the infested cell or that cursory checks are conducted in the vicinity of an infested cell.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Journal Apicultural Research
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0021-8839
Related URLs:
Funders: British Disease Insurance
Depositing User: SJ Martin
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2021 12:04
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 17:14

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