Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Comparing pairs of Russian and Italian colonies by new beekeepers in North Carolina.

Abstract

The variation in varroa mite (Varroa destructor) densities and colony strengths between pairs of Russian and Italian honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies were studied. The experiment involved 250 new beekeepers taking part in the 2005 North Carolina New Beekeeper Cost-sharing Programme. The pairs of hives were newly established in mid- to late-spring, and the participants sampled each colony for mite levels (using both the sugar shake and sticky board methods) and colony strength (by summing up the total number of frames covered with bees, brood, comb and honey) at the end of the summer. Varroa mite levels were 24.8 and 21.1% lower in the Russian colonies, on average, as measured by the sugar shake and sticky board assays, respectively. Italian colonies had significantly higher average colony populations, constructed comb, and stored honey. The successful introduction of Russian queens (87.8%) was significantly lower than that for Italian queens (95.0%), but supersedure rates and colony mortality were similar between the 2 stocks. These results suggested that phenotypic differences between these 2 stocks can be detected in a "real world" context.