Evaluation of Suppressed Mite Reproduction (SMR) Reveals Potential for Varroa Resistance in European Honey Bees (Apis mellifera L.)
Parejo Feuz, Melanie
Meixner, Marina D.
Dražić, Marica Maja
Lima, Ana S.
Pinto, M. Alice
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Insects 11(9) : (2020) // Article ID 595
In the fight against the Varroa destructor mite, selective breeding of honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) populations that are resistant to the parasitic mite stands as a sustainable solution. Selection initiatives indicate that using the suppressed mite reproduction (SMR) trait as a selection criterion is a suitable tool to breed such resistant bee populations. We conducted a large European experiment to evaluate the SMR trait in different populations of honey bees spread over 13 different countries, and representing different honey bee genotypes with their local mite parasites. The first goal was to standardize and validate the SMR evaluation method, and then to compare the SMR trait between the different populations. Simulation results indicate that it is necessary to examine at least 35 single-infested cells to reliably estimate the SMR score of any given colony. Several colonies from our dataset display high SMR scores indicating that this trait is present within the European honey bee populations. The trait is highly variable between colonies and some countries, but no major differences could be identified between countries for a given genotype, or between genotypes in different countries. This study shows the potential to increase selective breeding efforts of V. destructor resistant populations.
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).