The Effects of Miticides on the Reproductive Physiology of Honey Bee
(Apis mellifera L.) Queens and Drones
Lisa Marie Burley
The effects of miticides on the reproductive physiology of queens and drones
The first study examined the effects of Apistan® (fluvalinate), Check
Mite+ (coumaphos), and Apilife VAR® (74% thymol) on sperm production and viability
in drones. Drones from colonies treated with each miticide were collected at sexual
Sperm production was determined by counting the number of sperm in the
Sperm for viability assays was analyzed by dual fluorescent staining.
Apilife VAR® and coumaphos significantly lowered (P<0.0001) sperm production and
coumaphos treatments caused a significant decrease (P<0.0001) in the sperm viability.
The effects of miticides on queens was examined by treating queen-rearing
colonies and examining the number and viability of sperm in the spermathecae of newly
Queens from each treatment group were collected after mating and the
spermathecae were removed and analyzed.
Colonies treated with coumaphos failed to
provide viable queens and were excluded.
Apilife VAR® was found to significantly decrease (P<0.0016) sperm viability.
No significant differences in sperm numbers were found between treatments.
The effect of miticides on sperm viability over time was also examined.
Drones were reared as described, but the spermatozoa were collected as pooled samples from groups of drones.
The pooled samples from each treatment were subdivided and analyzed periods of up to 6 weeks.
Random samples were taken from each treatment (n = 6 pools) over a period of 6 weeks.
The exposure of drones to coumaphos during development
significantly reduced sperm viability for all 6 weeks, and caused a large decline in week
6. The potential impacts of these results on queen performance and failure are discussed.