Testing Two Selection Assays' Efficacy for Varroa-mite-tolerant Bee Production

Final Report for FNE08-631

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2008: $4,347.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Northeast
State: Maryland
Project Leader:
Adam Finkelstein
VP Queen Bees
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Project Information


Testing two assays for their efficacy in a mite-tolerant breeding program was the goal for this project. We concentrated on the alcohol wash assay to measure a colony’s phoretic mite level in the brood nest three times over the season. Colonies that had a low percentage of phoretic mites and that had other desirable economic traits were found and will be used for breeding. Bees were sampled from the active broodnest in alcohol. When convenient, these bees were put into a strainer and the alcohol drained into a container where the mites were counted—then the bees were washed three times with a water spray through the strainer and mites counted again to determine total mite count per sample. Mite counts were converted to a percentage. This assay is simple and compliments a performance evaluation selection program. The low measurement of phoretic mites in a colony throughout the year is a good indicator that the colony shows the VSH traits. Colonies that have low mite percentages and that do well will become excellent candidates for breeding stock. We recommend this assay to anyone working on a mite resistant bee breeding program.

Note to readers: Full final report for FNE08-631 is attached


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  • Dr. Dewey Caron


Participation Summary
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.