Improving honey Bee Health and Pollination Sustainability with Mite-Resistant Bees

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2008: $117,861.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: North Central
State: Indiana
Project Coordinator:
Dr. Greg Hunt
Purdue University

Annual Reports


  • Animals: bees


  • Animal Production: preventive practices
  • Pest Management: genetic resistance
  • Production Systems: holistic management


    In this project, signficant progress was made towards breeding for resistance to Varroa mites in honey bees and getting beekeepers to adopt northern-bred mite-tolerant stocks. Breeding involved selecting for a novel trait, mite-grooming behavior.


    The most recent surveys in North America and Europe have shown that among risk factors looked at, Varroa mites are still the most commonly associated problem with winter kills of bee hives.

    Project objectives:

    There were four main objectives.

    1) Increase mite-grooming traits in the Purdue honey bee breeding program.
    2) Demonstrate the benefits of breeding for resistance to Varroa mites.
    3) Promote the use of resistant stock by Midwest beekeepers.
    4) Incorporate both VSH and grooming behavior traits in stocks.

    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.