No. 75 (2018)

The effect of the queen's age on the Varroa mite (Varroa destructor) burden of honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) colonies

Published December 28, 2018
Marianna Takács
University of Debrecen Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences and Environmental Management, Institute of Animal Science, Debrecen
János Oláh
Farm and Regional Research Institute of Debrecen, Debrecen


Takács, M., & Oláh, J. (2018). The effect of the queen’s age on the Varroa mite (Varroa destructor) burden of honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) colonies. Acta Agraria Debreceniensis, (75), 83-87.

An apiary trial was conducted in 2016 August to October in Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County, Nyírmada to evaluate the influence of queen’s age on the Varroa destructor-burden in the treatment colonies. Sixty colonies of bees belonging to the subspecies Apis mellifera carnica pannonica in Hunor loading hives (with 10 frames in the brood chamber/deep super) were used. The colonies were treated with amitraz and the organophosphate pesticide coumaphos active ingredients. The amitraz treatment includes 6 weeks. The coumaphos treatment with Destructor 3.2% can be used for both diagnosis and treatment of Varroasis. For diagnosis, one treatment is sufficient. For control, two treatments at an interval of seven days are required. The colonies were grouped by the age of the queen: 20 colonies with one-year-old, 20 colonies with two-year-old and 20 colonies with three-year-old queen. The mite mortality of different groups was compared. The number of fallen mites was counted at the white bottom boards. The examination of spring growth of honey bee colonies has become necessary due to the judgement of efficiency of closing treatment. The data was recorded seven times between 16th March 2017 and 19th May 2017.

Data on fallen mites were subjected to one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Post-Hoc Tukey-test. Statistical analysis was performed using the software of IBM SPSS (version 21.). During the first two weeks after treatments, the number of fallen mites was significantly higher in the older queen’s colonies (Year 2014). The total mite mortality after amitraz treatment in the younger queen’s colonies was lower (P<0.05) compared to the three-year-old queen’s colonies. According to Takács and Oláh (2016) although the mitemortality tendency, after the coumaphos (closing) treatment in colonies which have Year 2014 queen showed the highest rate, considering the mite-burden the colonies belongs to the average infected category. The colonial maintenance ability of three-year-old queen cannot be judged based on the influencing effect on the mite-burden. The importance of the replacement of the queen was judged by the combined effect of several factors.

During the spring-growth study (16th March–19th May) was experienced in the three-year-old queen’s colonies the number of brood frames significantly lower compared to the one- and two-year-old queen’s colonies. In the study of 17th April and 19th May each of the three queen-year-groups were varied. Therefore in the beekeeping season at different times were determined the colonial maintenance ability of queens by more factors: efficiency of closing treatment in early spring, the spring-growth of bee colonies, the time of population shift (in current study, this time was identical in each queen-year), honey production (from black locust).


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