Large-Scale Monitoring of Resistance to Coumaphos, Amitraz, and Pyrethroids in Varroa destructor

Insects. 2021 Jan 4;12(1):27. doi: 10.3390/insects12010027.


Varroa destructor is an ectoparasitic mite causing devastating damages to honey bee colonies around the world. Its impact is considered a major factor contributing to the significant seasonal losses of colonies recorded every year. Beekeepers usually rely on a reduced set of acaricides to manage the parasite, usually the pyrethroids tau-fluvalinate or flumethrin, the organophosphate coumaphos, and the formamidine amitraz. However, the evolution of resistance in the mite populations is leading to an unsustainable scenario with almost no alternatives to reach an adequate control of the mite. Here, we present the results from the first large-scale and extensive monitoring of the susceptibility to acaricides in the Comunitat Valenciana, one of the most prominent apicultural regions in Spain. Our ultimate goal is to provide beekeepers with timely information to help them decide what would be the best alternative for a long-term control of the mites in their apiaries. Our data show that there is a significant variation in the expected efficacy of coumaphos and pyrethroids across the region, indicating the presence of a different ratio of resistant individuals to these acaricides in each population. On the other hand, the expected efficacy of amitraz was more consistent, though slightly below the expected efficacy according to the label.

Keywords: TaqMan; acaricide resistance; acaricides; bioassay; genotyping; honey bees.