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Revista mexicana de ciencias pecuarias

On-line version ISSN 2448-6698Print version ISSN 2007-1124


MEDINA-FLORES, Carlos Aurelio et al. Honey production and Varroa destructor infestation of Africanized honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies with high and low hygienic behavior. Rev. mex. de cienc. pecuarias [online]. 2014, vol.5, n.2, pp.157-170. ISSN 2448-6698.

The aim of this study was to compare the honey yields and levels of Varroa destructor between colonies of Africanized honey bees (AHB) (Apis mellifera) showing high and low hygienic behavior (HB) in Mexico's semi-arid high plateau. The degree of HB of 57 colonies was measured using the liquid nitrogen (N2) brood-freezing technique. The colonies were categorized into two groups: high HB (> 95 %) and low HB (< 50 % removal of freeze-killed brood at 48 h). Honey production was evaluated in fall and spring and the level of Varroa on adult bees was determined before and during the honey harvests. The colonies with high HB produced significantly more honey than the colonies with low HB only during the spring crop (21.4 ± 4.7 vs 13.4 ± 5.0 kg; P<0.01). There were no significant differences between the two groups of colonies for levels of infestation by V. destructor (P>0.05). These results suggest that apparently HB does not have a major role in restraining the growth of Varroa populations in AHB. They also suggest that high levels of HB could contribute to increase honey production in AHB colonies during times of the year with limited nectar flow.

Keywords : Honey bee; Hygienic behavior; Varroosis; Tolerance; Honey harvest.

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