Mites used in the bioassay

Adult males and all other relevant mite stages for the mating bioassay can be found in worker brood cells 8-9 days after cell capping. See section ‘Opening each cell’ for the description of how to collect mites from cells. Females shortly after the adult moult should be used for the general observation of the mating behaviour and disturbance experiments. Deutonymphs (Fig. 11) are not attractive for males and can be used as “dummies” when stimulating cues are tested.

The mites should be separated according to sex (see section 4.3.3. ‘How to measure reproductive success’ and Figs 11 and 12) and kept in groups of maximum 5 individuals at 28-30 °C in order to avoid unwanted copulations and a decrease of fitness.

Fig. 11. Ventral and dorsal views of developmental stages of Varroa destructor females (above) and males (below) on A. mellifera brood. Approximate developmental time is given above the horizontal lines of different thicknesses which delimit the stages. Solid lines denote mobile phases, dashed lines immobile phases prior moulting (after Donzé et al., 1994). Immobile and mobile phases can only be distinguished in live material, not in frozen samples. Photos: R Nanelli and S J Martin.

Figure 11a