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Mite Damaging Behaviour in Apis mellifera honey bees

A large and ever growing body of work is being conducted by the North York Moors Honey bee Conservation Group, Co-ordinated by John Dews.

The work started in 1997 and consists of selecting and cross breeding strains of Amm bees that show high levels of damage being inflicted on the Varroa destructor mites that infest them. The bees concerned are constantly challenged by mites which are allowed to build up to just below the catastrophic level, but are kept at this sub lethal level by thymol or lactic acid treatment.

The assessment of the "damage coefficient" is made by microscopically examining all of the mites that fall from the bees and recording the number of damaged varroa mites seen in relation to the total number of dead mites per colony.

So far this work is producing promising results that are improving, year by year. Other groups are also carrying out similar work, Ron Hoskins in Swindon along with James Kilty and Rodger Dewhurst in Cornwall under the auspices of the Cornwall Bee Improvement Group.

 Written... 10 December 2001, Revised... 11 December 2001, Upgraded... 18 April 2007,
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