Maintaining mites on honey bee brood

Adult mites can be kept for many days on bee larvae or pupae in the laboratory, under standardized thermo- and hygrometric conditions necessary for the brood (34.5 °C and 60-70 % RH). Brood must be replaced regularly with younger individuals before they reach the adult stage (Beetsma and Zonneveld, 1992). Small Petri dishes with a few immature honey bees can be used for this purpose. In order to improve mite feeding and survival, a close contact between the mite and the brood item is desirable. Some authors confine mites individually on a larva or pupa in smaller containers (1 ml Eppendorf tube). To increase humidity in the Eppendorf tube, a wet piece of cotton wool is pushed into the bottom of the tube. Excess water accumulating on top of the cotton wool needs to be removed by shaking the tube to prevent mites from adhering to droplets. Piercing the lid with 1-2 holes (Æ < 1 mm) will improve ventilation and respiration. Up to 8 mites can be kept in one tube. Mites can be transferred into the Eppendorf tube using a brush. Once all mites are transferred, the pupa/larva can then be placed in the tube.

Pros: easy for keeping mites alive.

Cons: does not result in oviposition by the mites.