Description of the project and overwintering colony mortality:
The Honey Bee Research Centre, University of Guelph, in collaboration with the Ontario Beekeepers Association (OBA), and the Ontario Queen Breeders Association, has been implementing a breeding program to select honey bees for varroa mite resistance. Varroa destructor is an ectoparasitic mite that feeds upon the fat body tissue and the haemolymph of bees. The mite has been associated to most overwinter colony losses in Canada, and it is a vector of honey bee viruses, such as the Deformed wing virus (DWV). The bee breeding program focuses on selecting bee colonies based on low and high Varroa population growth (LVG and HVG, respectively), by using sticky bottom boards. Results of overwinter colony mortality in winter 2022-2023 for the LVG colonies (Varroa-resistant) was 0% mortality and for the HVG colonies (Varroa-susceptible) was 13%.
Presentations of the preliminary results:
- The 2nd Saskatchewan Bee Healthy Workshop, Saskatchewan Beekeepers Development Commission, Saskatchewan, Canada, March 8th, 2023.
- Back Yard Beekeepers Association, Weston, Connecticut, USA, April 25th, 2023.
- Golden Horseshoe Beekeepers Association, Jerseyville, Ontario, August 17th, 2023.