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Field Trials Using the Fungal Pathogen, Metarhizium anisopliae (Deuteromycetes: Hyphomycetes) to Control the Ectoparasitic Mite, Varroa destructor (Acari: Varroidae) in Honey Bee, Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Colonies

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Abstract:

The potential for Metarhizium anisopliae (Metschinkoff) to control the parasitic mite, Varroa destructor (Anderson and Trueman) in honey bee colonies was evaluated in field trials against the miticide, tau-fluvalinate (Apistan). Peak mortality of V. destructor occurred 3–4 d after the conidia were applied; however, the mites were still infected 42 d posttreatments. Two application methods were tested: dusts and strips coated with the fungal conidia, and both methods resulted in successful control of mite populations. The fungal treatments were as effective as the Apistan, at the end of the 42-d period of the experiment. The data suggested that optimum mite control could be achieved when no brood is being produced, or when brood production is low, such as in the early spring or late fall. M. anisopliae was harmless to the honey bees (adult bees, or brood) and colony development was not affected. Mite mortality was highly correlated with mycosis in dead mites collected from sticky traps, indicating that the fungus was infecting and killing the mites. Because workers and drones drift between hives, the adult bees were able to spread the fungus between honey bee colonies in the apiary, a situation that could be beneficial to beekeepers.

Keywords: Apis mellifera; Metarhizium anisopliae; Varroa destructor; application methods; biological control

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/0022-0493-96.4.1091

Publication date: August 1, 2003

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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