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common name: varroa mite
scientific name: Varroa jacobsoni Oudemans (Arachnida: Acari: Varroidae)
Adult female mites are brown to dark brown, shaped like a crab, measuring 1.00-1.77 mm long and 1.50-1.99 mm wide. Male mites are considerably smaller and are pale to lightly tanned. Their curved bodies fit into abdominal folds of the adult bee and are held there by the shape and arrangement of ventral setae. This protects them from the bee's normal cleaning habits. Adult males are yellowish with lightly tanned legs and spherical body shape measuring 0.75-0.98 mm long and 0.70-0.88 wide.


 Adult bees serve as intermediate hosts when little or no brood is available and as a means of transport. The females attach to the adult bee between the abdominal segments or between body regions (head-thorax-abdomen), making them difficult to detect. These are also places from which they can easily feed on the bees' hemolymph. The adult bee suffers not only the loss of blood but may be subjected to microbial invasion, leading to a reduced life expectancy


The most severe parasitism occurs on the older larvae and pupae, drone brood being preferred to worker brood. The degree of damage depends on the number of mites parasitizing each bee larva. One or two mites will cause a decrease in vitality of the emerging bee. Higher numbers of Varroa per cell result in malformations like shortened abdomens, misshapen wings, deformed legs or even in the death of the pupa.

The adult female Varroa enter the brood cells shortly before capping and must feed on larval hemolymph before they can lay eggs. Each mite lays 2-6 eggs at approximately 30-hour intervals. The first egg usually develops into a male and the later ones into females. The development proceeds from egg to six-legged larvae, to eight-legged protonymphs, to deutonymphs, to sexually mature adult mites in 6 to 10 days. They mate in the capped cells with the males dying soon afterward. All immature mites will die after the emerging bee opens the cell, while the young adult female mites and the mature (gravid) females move on to passing bees. The mite enters another brood cell in 3 to more than 150 days depending on the season and availability of brood.



Trachael Mite