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Varroa spp. (Acari; Varroidae) - V. destructor, V. jacobsoni, V. underwoodi, V. rindereri

Varroa belongs to the parasitic mites and is known to be one of the most dangerous pests in honey bees worldwide. Varroa weakens the colony by feeding on their hemolymph and by acting as a vector for viruses and other pathogens. They enter brood prior capping and reproduce in the sealed brood cells. [1] [2] [3] The natural host of V. destructor was the Asian honey bee A. cerana, but due to a host-switch, when the Western honey bee was introduced to Asia, V. destructor spread worldwide. [4]

Ethiopia: There are no reports of high colony losses that are directly linked to the parasitic, introduced V. destructor mite, thus in Ethiopia it is not common to treat infested honey bee colonies chemically. Surveys revealed, that most Ethiopian beekeepers do not know about the possible impact of V. destructor on their colonies. [5] Researcher also do not rule out that honey bee populations in Africa may be more resistant against V. destructor due to several factors like climate conditions (i.e. almost no overwintering). [6] [7]

Indonesia: Several species of Varroa exist in Indonesia (V. destructor, V. jacobsoni, V. underwoodi, V. rindereri), known to infest different honey bee species and subspecies. Regarding the beekeeping with A. cerana, studies revealed, that V. destructor seems to be not economically important, not only due to the increased hygiene behavior of A. cerana. Though, increased grooming behavior of A. cerana in cleaning and removing varroa mites is not only triggered by exogenous stimuli through visual and olfactory detection, but also on genetics. Unfortunately, there is no data on the impact of V. destructor on Indonesian A. mellifera (i.e. infestation rate, severity, ...). [8] [9] [10] [11]


  1. Crane, E. (1990). Bees and beekeeping: science, practice, and world resources. Ithaca, N.Y.: Comstock Pub. Associates.
  2. Morse, R. A., & Nowogrodzki, R. (1990). Honey Bee Pests, Predators, and Diseases (2nd edition). Comstock Publishing Associates, USA.
  3. Mengistu, S., Kebede, Y., & Begna, D. (2016). Major Honey Bee Health Problem with Particular Emphasis to Anti-Varroa Investigation of Propolis in Toke-Kutaye District, Ethiopia. American-Eurasian Journal of Scientific Research, 11(5), 320–331.
  4. Botías, C., Anderson, D. L., Meana, A., Garrido-Bailón, E., Martín-Hernández, R., & Higes, M. (2012). Further evidence of an oriental origin for Nosema ceranae (Microsporidia: Nosematidae). Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, 110(1), 108–113.
  5. Ebisa, M., Eyob, H., Dasselegn, B., Lama, Y., Abdisa B., & Misganu, C. (2016). Occurrence and Distribution of Varroa Mite and Antivarroa Effect of Propolis in Walmara District of Oromia Special Zone Around Finfine, Ethiopia. Journal of Veterinary Science and Technology, 7(5), 1-6.
  6. Muli, E., Patch, H., Frazier, M., Frazier, J., Torto, B., Baumgarten, T., …, & Grozinger, C. (2014). Evaluation of the distribution and impacts of parasites, pathogens, and pesticides on honey bee (Apis mellifera) populations in East Africa. PloS One, 9(4), e94459.
  7. Pirk, C. W. W., Strauss, U., Yusuf, A. A., Démares, F., & Human, H. (2015). Honeybee health in Africa—a review. Apidologie, 47(3), 276–300.
  8. Diao, Q., Sun, L., Zheng, H., Zeng, Z., Wang, S., Xu, S., …, & Wu, J. (2018). Genomic and transcriptomic analysis of the Asian honeybee Apis cerana provides novel insights into honeybee biology. Scientific Reports, 8(1), 1-14.
  9. Gupta, R. K., Reybroeck, W., van Veen, J. W., & Gupta, A. (2014). Beekeeping for Poverty Alleviation and Livelihood Security: Vol. 1: Technological Aspects of Beekeeping. Dordrecht, Springer Netherlands.
  10. Oldroyd, B. P., & Nanork, P. (2009). Conservation of Asian honey bees. Apidologie, 40(3), 296–312.
  11. Rosenkranz, P., Aumeier, P., & Ziegelmann, B. (2010). Biology and control of Varroa destructor. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, 103, 96–119.