Incidence Rate of Varroaris in Honey Bee Colonies of Eastern Azarbaijan Province, Northwestern Iran
The aim of this study is to come to a conclusion on the seasonal existence of varroaris in the apiaries of Eastern Azerbaijan Province, Northwestern Iran and comparing the spread rate of varroaris in this region with other regions (reported in similar studies). Among 942 apiaries under study (located in 10 regions in the province) in one year, 217 apiaries were infected by varroaris. Varroaris was witnessed to be found in its lowest rate in June (7.72%) and its peak was recorded to be in March (44%). Parasitic infection in the apiaries in the area in the months of honey production, during summer and fall demonstrated an increasing procedure in a way that in the months: July, August, September and October, the percentage of infected apiaries was, respectively 9.76, 26.82, 32.92 and 40%. In January, February and March the peak of infection witnessed was, respectively: 33.33, 34.66 and 44%. It is proposed that the rate of varroaris infection is higher in cold regions such as Eastern Azarbaijan Province comparing to warm climates and its incidence and spread in the cold seasons (fall and winter) is more than warm and hot seasons (spring and summer).
The varroa mite is one of the most serious pests known for Apis mellifera,
principally because it is an introduced and therefore exotic organism on Apis
mellifera. It feeds on the haemolymph of the developing honey bee larva,
pupa and the adult bee (Ritter, 1981). Varroaris's most
noticeable effects are: decrease in the number of adult bees, dispersal of larva
raising areas and plunder of the hives by other bees and ultimately evacuation
of the hives. The intensity of the effects of the disease varies according to
the existence of the food in the colony, the climate of the area and the existence
of other diseases in the colony or the apiary (Goodvin and
Varroa is also known as the most serious problem in beekeeping all over the
world (Fakkimzadeh, 2001; Baggio
et al., 2004). Because of the damages caused by Varroa, beekeepers
lose a great number of colonies in winter or start with an unhealthy, weak colony
in the spring season (Imdorf and Carriere, 1996; Akyol
and Ozkok, 2005).
The prevalence of varroa in high levels can lead to certain damages. for instance,
the spread of varroaris in its first years in Turkey was the main factor in
the loss of 600 honey bee colonies and 7000-7500 ton of products (Akyol
and Korkmaz, 2005).
Despite conducting studies in relation with varroa epidemics and its certain
damages in many different countries in the world and its high spread in Iran's
apiaries; the statistics published in relation to the infection of varroaris
in Iran is limited (Eilami et al., 2006; Rahmani
et al., 2006). In addition, the limited statistics concerning the
spread of varroaris in Iran's apiaries are often without climatic and seasonal
information of the infection. It has been reported that the prevalence of honey
bee diseases such as varroaris and the nosemosis in Iran, vary accordingly based
on the climate and the season (Eilami et al., 2006;
Lotfi et al., 2009).
MATERIALS AND METHODS
In this study, the infection rate of honey bee colonies (Apis mellifera)
in Eastern Azarbaijan Province (one of the most important beekeeping centers
in Iran) to varroa has been inspected in 12 months (2008-2009) and the results
related to varroaris spread have been compared to the previous reported statistics.
Bee samples have been collected from 942 hives in 10 different cities of the
province. In this study, approximately 100 adult bees (after separation from
combs) were put in a container which contained water and soap solution. Then
it was shaken well using the shaker for about 15 min. This way, mites were separated
from the bees. Then the bees were strained and separated using a filter with
rather large pours and the left-over was strained again through a piece of white
cloth until the mites were seen. Counting the bees and mites, the number of
infected colonies was specified by Excell software (Excell,
The results demonstrated in Table 1, shows that the lowest rate of varroaris spread was in spring (7.72%) with moderate weather and it increases in the following seasons respectively. In a way that the highest rate of varroaris spread in the hives was recorded in winter (37.33%) with cold weather. The lowest rate of incidence in June (7.72%) and the highest rate in March (44%) was recorded. The annual average of varroaris incidence was 23.39%.
The varroaris infection in the hives of the area in honey production season during summer and the beginning of fall demonstrated an increasing procedure, in a way that in July, August, September and October the percentage of the infected hives was, respectively 9.76, 26.82, 32.92 and 40% (Fig. 1). Also, in the resting season of the bees (winter), the highest rate of incidence of varroaris was recorded; in a way that in January, February and March, the peak of infection was, respectively witnessed to be: 33.33, 34.66 and 44% (Fig. 1).
||Seasonal Incidence rate of Varroaris in Eastern Azarbaijan
||Incidence rate of Varroaris in different months at
Eastern Azarbaijan Province
In the study conducted in 2 subsequent years in 8 cities of Elazig Province
in Turkey, 25.61% of the hives were infected by varroaris (Şimsek, 2005).
In Poland 30% of the hives (Irzyk and Skrobut, 1987)
and in Serbia 21.5% of the hives (Debeljak et al.,
1991) were reported as infected. There are limited references concerning
seasonal varroaris spread. The study of varroaris in 2 subsequent years in Egypt
demonstrated that varroa spread in fall and winter is in a high level (respectively:
10.2 and 13.2%) and in spring and summer in a low level (respectively: 5.1 and
5.3%) (Ghoniemy et al., 2005). The seasonal order
of the spread of the disease is in relation with the observations of the study
of varroaris in Eastern Azerbaijan Province. However, some statistics reported
on varroaris seasonal infection in various regions are different. For instance,
statistical reports of 6 regions in Chile revealed the highest rate of varroaris
incidence in a year to be during summer (58%) (Hinojosa
and Gonzalez, 2004), which is higher than the level of infection in Eastern
The average incidence rate of varroaris in recent study (23.39%) was lower
than the reported infection rate in Turkey (Simsek, 2005),
Poland (Irzyk and Skrobut, 1987) and Chile (Hinojosa
and Gonzalez, 2004) and higher than the reported infection in Egypt and
Serbia (Debeljak et al., 1991). The researches
conducted by De Jong et al. (1984) demonstrated
that prevalence of varroaris is usually to be seen more in cold regions rather
than warm climates, according to present study. In the recent study, Eastern
Azerbaijan Province is a cold region and moreover, there to be seen high spread
of varroaris during the year (23.39%) and the highest level of infection is
in winter (37.33%). On the other hand, the statistics reported in Fars Province
(one of central and hot regions in Iran) varroa infection during the year is
less than in the 4% of the hives, which in the hottest areas of Fars Province
decreases to even 0.34% (Eilami et al., 2006).
The results of the recent study in Eastern Azerbaijan Province showed the high
rate of varroaris incidence in this province comparing with the results of Eliami
et al. (2006) in Fars Province (warm climate) and also, the high
rate of its incidence in winter in Eastern Azerbaijan, confirms the results
of De Jong et al. (1984) and contradict with
Eliami et al. (2006). The reason of these differences
may be in related by climate. In other words, cold climate is suitable for some
of the major disease such as nosemosis (Lotfi et al.,
2009). After accourance or with ocourance of nosemosis, Hives are sensitive
to acute varroaris infection. the study conducted by Eliami
et al. (2006), significant association was witnessed between climate
and the rate of varroaris incidence and in the cold regions, the rate of infection
was reported to be in a higher level. Their results was in accordance with the
results of the recent study and the study conducted by Ghoniemy
et al. (2005). According to present studies and examinations of the
reported statistics, honey bees of the region are struggling with parasitic
infection of varroaris in both productivity and inactivity seasons. It is proposed
that varroa infection in cold climates is more than that of warm climates and
varroaris's rate of incidence in cold seasons (fall and winter) is more than
warm and hot seasons (spring and summer). Regarding high rate of infection and
incidence of varroaris in the Apiaries of Eastern Azerbaijan Province during
the year, it seems necessary to have a regular control program in order to decrease
the rate of infection in this region.
Special thanks to Semnan University and Islamic Azad University-Shabestar branch for financial support of this study.
1: Akyol, E. and A. Korkmaz, 2005. Bal arisi (Apis mellifera) zararlisi Varroa destructor'un biolojisi. Uludag. Bee. J., 5: 122-127.
Direct Link |
2: Akyol, E. and D. Ozkok, 2005. The use of organic acids for Varroa (Varroa destructor) control. Uludag. Bee. J., 5: 167-174.
Direct Link |
3: Baggio, A., P. Arculeo, A. Nanetti, E. Marinelli and F. Mutinelli, 2004. Field trials with different thymol-based products for the control of Varroasis. Am. Bee. J., 144: 395-400.
4: Debeljak, Z., M. Lolin, V.N. Dugalic, A. Zancovic and Z. Plausic, 1991. Commonent bee diseases in the Kraljevo region. Vet. Glas., 45: 845-849.
5: De Jong, D., L.S. Goncalves and R.A. Morse, 1984. Dependence on climate of the virulence of Varoa jacobsoni. Bee world, 65: 117-121.
Direct Link |
6: Eilami, B., H. Hamzehzarghani, G.R. Tahmasebi, R. Bahreini, H. Al-e Mansoor and A.H. Karimi, 2006. Surveys on distribution of honey bee pests and predators in the Fars province. Pajouhesh Sazandegi, 73: 74-81.
Direct Link |
7: Fakkimzadeh, K., 2001. Detection of major mite pest of Apis mellifera and development of non-chemical control of varroasis. Department of Applied Biology University of Helsinki ed., Helsinki, Finland. http://ethesis.helsinki.fi/julkaisut/maa/selai/vk/fakhimzadeh/detectio.pdf.
8: Goodvin, M. and V.C. Eaton, 2001. Control of Varroa: A Guide for New Zealand Beekeepers. 1st Edn., National Beekeepers Association of New Zealand, New Zealand.
9: Ghoniemy, H.A., M. Abdel-Halim, A. Ismail, A. Ayman and A. Owayss., 2005. Relationship between Varroa Mite and chalkbrood fungus infestations in honeybees during variable ecological conditions and colony performance. Proceedings of the 4th International Conference of Arab Beekeepers Union, Nov. 24-27, Sahara Tourist Resort, Damascus, Syria, pp: 1-14.
10: Hinojosa, A. and D. Gonzalez, 2004. Prevalencia de parasitos en Apis mellifera L en colmenares del secano costero e interior de la VI Region, Chile. Parasitol. Latinoam., 59: 137-141.
Direct Link |
11: Imdorf, A. and J.D. Carriere, 1996. Alternative Varroa control. Am. Bee J., 136: 189-193.
12: Irzyk, J. and J. Skrobut, 1987. Bee diseases occurring in the Suwalki district in 1980-1985. Zycie. Vet., 62: 175-177.
13: Lotfi, A., R. Jamshidi, H. Aghdam shahryar and M. Yousefkhani, 2009. The Prevalence of Nosemosis in honey bee colonies in arasbaran region (Northwestern Iran). American-Eurasian J. Agric. Environ. Sci., 5: 255-257.
14: Rahmani, H., K. Kamali, A. Saboori and J. Nowzari, 2006. Report and survey of morphometric characteristics of Varroa destructor (Acari: Varroidae) collected from honey bees in Tehran Province. Iran. J. Agric. Sci. Technol., 8: 351-355.
Direct Link |
15: Ritter, W., 1981. Varroa disease of the honeybee Varroa mellifera. Bee World, 62: 141-153.
16: Simsek, H., 2005. Elazig yoresi bal arilarinda bazi parazit ve mantar hastaliklarinin arastırilmasi. Ankara Univ. Vet. Fak. Derg., 52: 123-126.
Direct Link |
17: Excell, 2003. Microsoft office software. Microsoft Co., USA.