Med. Weter. 70 (12), 777-780, 2014

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Olszewski K., Borsuk G., Paleolog J., Strachecka A.
Life span of worker honeybees reared in colonies kept on small-cell combs
Between 2011 and 2013, in laboratory cage tests, we compared life spans of bees reared in colonies kept on small-cell combs (cell width of 4.93 mm) that were either treated or untreated against varroatosis, as well as life spans of bees reared in colonies kept on standard-cell combs (cell width of 5.56 mm), both treated and untreated against varroatosis. Maintaining colonies on small-cell combs, combined with the lack of strong parasitic pressure from V. destructor, extended the life span of these bees in comparison with that of bees from standard-cell combs. The keeping of colonies on small-cell combs increased the longevity of bees reared on them and heavily infested by the parasites. Intensive infestation by V. destructor mites shortened the life span of bees, regardless of comb cell width, as confirmed by significant correlation coefficients between the parameters defining the scale of infestation and the life span of bees, while the specifics of the interrelation between the worker life span and the scale of infestation depended on the cell width (small/standard). Hence, comb cell width affects the biology of both the parasite and the host, as well as the relationship between them. Therefore, analysing biological connections between A. mellifera colonies and V. destructor in the context of different comb cell widths seems a very promising direction for research.
Key words: small-cell combs, worker life span, laboratory cage tests, Apis mellifera, Varroa destructor