LIFE HISTORY PLASTICITY OF MANAGED HONEYBEES; BEHAVIORAL RESPONSE TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS THAT PROMOTE OR ATTENUATE VARROA DESTRUCTOR
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) of managed honeybees has become a serious cause for concern within the agricultural sector. Research in recent years has reported Varroa destructor and other environmental stressors may be the foremost reasons for these increased losses. We developed this research towards gaining a more comprehensive understanding of adaptive honeybee behaviors that may attenuate Varroa mite populations and how environmental factors, such as humidity, play an integral role. There
... s a strong negative correlation (r = - 0.982, p < 0.01) between relative humidity and its effect on live Varroa mite populations. Increases in relative humidity increase the probability of observing allogrooming behavior in a series of logistic regression models showed significance, with one exception. Additionally, there is a moderate negative correlation between the total proportion of time spent grooming and the number of live Varroa mites (r = - 0.178, p < 0.05). The research conducted blends scientific methodologies and beekeeping experience to develop research methods that could help beekeepers explore Varroa presence in their apiaries and determine whether their honeybees are adapting behaviors that promote or attenuate mite populations.