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Recapping behavior in Apis cerana: does it contribute to resistance against Varroa destructor?


Dietemann, Vincent et al. (2023), Recapping behavior in Apis cerana: does it contribute to resistance against Varroa destructor?, Dryad, Dataset,


The invasion of the ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor in the European honey bee, Apis mellifera, populations has led to the collapse of most wild stocks and to economic losses in beekeeping operations. Understanding how some A. mellifera populations survive infestations by this parasite is of high fundamental and practical interest and has led to numerous studies of potential resistance mechanisms. One of these mechanisms is the uncapping and recapping of comb cells containing infested individuals by nurse bees. Recapping was observed in most surviving populations, but its link to V. destructor resistance remains unclear. Investigating the occurrence of recapping in the Eastern honey bee, Apis cerana, the original host of the parasite, could provide a better understanding of the evolution and function of this behaviour in the genus Apis. We here determined the frequency of recapping in two A. cerana populations in China and Thailand and compared them with a sympatric A. mellifera population in China. The species, which differ in their susceptibility to infestations, did not show significant differences in recapping frequency. A specific association between recapping and resistance to V. destructor in A. cerana is thus not supported. We discuss possible evolution scenarios and functions for this behaviour.


National Natural Science Foundation of China

Science and Technology Program of Zhejiang Province