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Reduced Postcapping Period in Honey Bees Surviving Varroa destructor by Means of Natural Selection

1
Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 756 51 Uppsala, Sweden
2
Department of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, 1430 Ås, Norway
3
Norwegian Beekeepers Association, Dyrskuev, 2040 Kløfta, Norway
4
Institute of Bee Health, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, 3003 Bern, Switzerland
5
Agroscope, Swiss Bee Research Center, 3003 Bern, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2018, 9(4), 149; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects9040149
Received: 13 February 2018 / Revised: 17 August 2018 / Accepted: 17 October 2018 / Published: 24 October 2018
The ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor is a key factor for colony losses in European honey bee subspecies (Apis mellifera), but it is also known that some host populations have adapted to the mite by means of natural selection. The role of a shorter host brood postcapping period in reducing mite reproductive success has been investigated in other surviving subspecies, however its role in the adaptation of European honey bee populations has not been addressed. Here, we use a common garden approach to compare the length of the worker brood postcapping period in a Norwegian surviving honey bee population with the postcapping period of a local susceptible population. The data show a significantly shorter postcapping period in the surviving population for ~10% of the brood. Since even small differences in postcapping period can significantly reduce mite reproductive success, this mechanism may well contribute to natural colony survival. It appears most likely that several mechanisms acting together produce the full mite-surviving colony phenotype. View Full-Text
Keywords: Apis mellifera; honey bee; mite; natural selection; postcapping period; survivability; Varroa destructor Apis mellifera; honey bee; mite; natural selection; postcapping period; survivability; Varroa destructor
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Oddie, M.A.Y.; Dahle, B.; Neumann, P. Reduced Postcapping Period in Honey Bees Surviving Varroa destructor by Means of Natural Selection. Insects 2018, 9, 149.

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