3.2.2. Breeding mites in the laboratory

In order to obtain the whole life cycle of varroa within the cells under laboratory conditions for observations and experimentation, rearing methods within artificial cells made of different materials were designed. Tested materials for cells include wax, glass, plastic, gelatin (Nazzi and Milani, 1994 and citations therein). In general, reproduction is very difficult to obtain, due to the seemingly high number of cues necessary for the mite to reproduce successfully. However, in some cases reproduction rates close to the natural ones were obtained. In particular, Donzé and Guérin (1994, 1997) obtained complete reproductive cycles in artificial cells. The cells used where first kept in the hive until sealing, then brought to the laboratory and placed in an incubator. Despite the low acceptance and infestation rate of these cells, it allows using cells of natural size and naturally infested. Nazzi and Milani (1994) developed a method that allow normal mite reproduction under laboratory conditions in cells in which larvae were introduced and which were infested artificially to allow more control on the process.