Research Article

The epidemiology of the infestation of the honeybee, Apis mellifera L., by the mite Acarapis woodi Rennie and the mortality of infested bees

L. Baileya1

a1 Bee Department, Rothamsted Experimental Station

The proportion of young honeybees which became infested with Acarapis woodi Rennie rose with an increased degree of infestation of the older bees and increased temperatures. But the most important influence controlling infestation seems to be the frequency with which young and old bees come into contact; this is probably determined by the foraging activity of the bees and the ratio of young bees to old bees; the percentage of infested bees in colonies diminished rapidly during nectar-flows and rose in periods of little nectar-flow.

The mortality of infested bees was only slightly greater than that of non-infested bees and became evident only after the bees had been in prolonged unfavourable circumstances. There were no obvious signs of disease in heavily infested colonies in summer. Colonies with more than about 30 or 40 % of infested bees seemed more likely to die in winter than non-infested colonies, but few colonies became so heavily infested even after a very poor season.

(Received October 27 1957)