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Host-parasite adaptations and interactions between honey bees, Varroa mites and viruses

Locke, Barbara (2012). Host-parasite adaptations and interactions between honey bees, Varroa mites and viruses. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Uppsala : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2012:57
ISBN 978-91-576-7704-4
[Doctoral thesis]

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The ectoparasitic mite, Varroa destructor, has become the largest threat to apiculture and honey bee health world-wide. Since it was introduced to the new host species, the European honey bee (Apis mellifera), it has been responsible for the near complete eradication of wild and feral honey bee populations in Europe and North America. Currently, the apicultural industry depends heavily on chemical Varroa control treatments to keep managed colonies alive. Without such control the mite populations in the colony will grow exponentially and the honey bee colony will succumb to the development of overt virus infections that are vectored by the mite typically within three years.

Two unique sub-populations of European honey bees (on Gotland, Sweden and in Avignon, France) have adapted to survive for extended periods (over ten years) without the use of mite control treatments. This has been achieved through a natural selection process with unmanaged mite infestation levels enforcing a strong selection pressure. This thesis reveals that the adaptation acquired by these honey bee populations mainly involve reducing the reproductive success of the parasite, that the different populations may have evolved different strategies to do so, and that this mite-resistant trait is genetically inherited. In addition, results of this thesis demonstrate that chemical mite control treatments used by beekeepers to inhibit the mite population growth within a colony can actually worsen bee health by temporarily increasing the bee's susceptibility to virus infection.

The results of this thesis highlight the impact that apicultural practices otherwise have on host-parasite interactions and the development of disease in this system. Possible solutions to the threat of Varroa are discussed such as the potential to breed for mite-resistant honey bees, which may offer a sustainable long-term solution, and the need for better general beekeeping techniques that reduce the use of chemical treatments and inhibit the spread of disease.

Authors/Creators:Locke, Barbara
Title:Host-parasite adaptations and interactions between honey bees, Varroa mites and viruses
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
Year of publishing :2012
Number of Pages:76
I.Locke, B. & Fries, I. (2011) Characteristics of honey bee colonies (Apis mellifera) in Sweden surviving Varroa destructor mite infestation. Apidologie, 42(4), 533-542.
II.Locke, B., Le Conte, Y., Crauser, D. & Fries, I. (2012) Host adaptations reduce the reproductive success of Varroa destructor in two distinct European honey bee populations. Ecology and Evolution, 2(6), 1144-1150.
III.Locke, B. Reducing Varroa destructor reproduction is a genetically inherited trait in a naturally adapted Varroa-resistant honey bee population. (Manuscript).
IV.Locke, B., Forsgren, E., Fries, I. & de Miranda, J.R. (2012) Acaricide treatment affects viral dynamics in Varroa destructor-infested honey bee colonies via both host physiology and mite control. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 78(1), 227-235.
Place of Publication:Uppsala
Publisher:Dept. of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
ISBN for printed version:978-91-576-7704-4
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:L Animal production > L10 Animal genetics and breeding
L Animal production > L72 Pests of animals
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Zoology
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 403 Veterinary Science > Pathobiology
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 404 Agricultural Biotechnology > Genetics and Breeding
Agrovoc terms:apis mellifera, honey bees, varroa, pest mites, mite control, viruses, natural selection, host parasite relations, disease resistance, epidemiology
Keywords:natural selection, disease resistance, epidemiology
Permanent URL:
ID Code:9036
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Ecology
(S) > Dept. of Ecology
Deposited By: Barbara Locke
Deposited On:12 Sep 2012 08:22
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 10:51

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