2.2.1. Mite appearance
Adult females are large (about 1.5 mm in width) and reddish-brown in colour, whereas males and female nymph stages are smaller and cream or white in colour. All stages are easily seen by the naked eye (Fig. 1). Each of the different life stages may be carefully removed from cells with the aid of a fine pair of forceps (such as #55 biologie forceps, Cat. No. 11255, from FST Fine Science Tools Inc.; Canada; Fig. 2) or soft paintbrush and dunked immediately into preserving fluid in a collection vial. Mites dunked into a vial of alcohol will immediately die and sink to the bottom, whereas those dunked into a vial of RNAlater will float on the surface and crawl around the inside of the vial before eventually dying some time later.
Fig. 1. A mite family with mother mite (reddish brown) and different stages of offspring at the bottom of a cell from which the honey bee pupa was removed. Photo: Denis Anderson.
Fig. 2. Tool kit to collect Varroa spp. mites. Photo: Denis Anderson.