Collecting mites from L5 larvae

Mites at a similar physiological stage can be collected from recently capped brood cells (after Chiesa et al., 1989).


1. Remove a brood comb with L5 larvae ready to be capped in the evening of the day preceding the experiment.

2. Mark the capped cells with a convenient marker (e.g. correcting fluid, queen marker, felt pen).

3. Replace the comb in its colony of origin.

Bees will continue capping mature cells.

4. The following morning, transfer the comb to the laboratory and unseal the unmarked cells that have been capped overnight.

5. Place the comb in an incubator at 35 °C, 60-70 % RH.

6. Infested and non-infested larvae deprived of the capping spontaneously emerge from brood cells in a short time.

7. Collect mites that have fallen from their cells with their host.

8. Place the mites collected in a mite-tight container to prevent them escaping.

9. Place a source of humidity in the container to prevent the mites desiccating.


Pros: easy collection, all mites are at the same physiological stage.

Cons: there is no knowledge of the mite's age and of how many reproductive cycles she already performed.