Taxonomy

Varroa destructor | Varroa mite

Distribution

Status

Conservation status

Not Assessed

Native status

Non-native

First reported in the wild

Uncertain

Invasiveness

Invasive species - risk of High Impact

Irish status

Established

Introduction pathways - 1

Transport Contaminant

Introduction pathways subclass - 1

Parasites on animals

Invasive score

18

NAPRA Ireland risk assessed

No

Species Biology

Identification

Relatively large mite, 1.1mm long x 1.5-1.6mm wide, generally attached to the first abdominal segment of the bee (Coffey, 2007). There are a variety of methods for measuring mite infestation in honeybee colonies.

Ecology

Untreated honeybee colonies will collapse within two years (Coffey, 2007).

Habitat

Miscellaneous

Reproduction

Reproduce exclusively in the brood cells of honey bees as the male mites cannot survive on adult bees (Donze et al., 1996). Females enter the brood cells of honey bees and emerge once the cells have been capped (Coffey, 2007), initially laying a single unfertilised egg that will produce the male that will fertilise all the subsequent females born (Coffey, 2007).

Pathway and vector description

As the original host was the Asian honeybee Apis cerana it was likely introduced to Ireland on imported bees. It was first detected in Europe in the 1970s with an estimated arrival date in Ireland of 1998 (Potts et al., 2010). It has since dispersed naturally throughout the country on infected bees (Coffey et al., 2011).

Mechanism of impact

Parasitism

Broad environment

Terrestrial

Habitat description

Ectoparasite on the honeybee Apis mellifera.

Species group

Invertebrate

Native region

Temperate Asia

Distribution

World distribution(GBIF)

Irish distribution

Established - Widespread & Common. A 2006 study found that 72% of colonies in Ireland were infected with Varroa destructor (Coffey et al., 2011).

Native distribution

Native to Asia, where it is a parasite on the Asian honey bee (Apis cerana). Now introduced to all continents except Australia and Antarctica.

Temporal change

Date of first record category

Unknown

Fifty year date category

1951-2000

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2019

The following map is interactive. If you would prefer to view it full screen then click here.

How can you help

Report any sightings to the National Biodiversity Data Centre.

Further information

A 2007 report by Dr. Mary Coffey details the biology of Varroa destructor, as well as monitoring and eradication methods.

Parasites of the Honeybee

References

Publications

Coffey, M. F., Barth, S., Hayes, K., & Breen, J. (2013). The health status of Irish honeybee colonies in 2006. Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research, 39-51. Potts, S. G., Roberts, S. P., Dean, R., Marris, G., Brown, M. A., Jones, R., Neumann, P. & Settele, J. (2010). Declines of managed honey bees and beekeepers in Europe. Journal of Apicultural Research, 49(1), 15-22. Coffey, M. F. (2007). Parasites of the Honeybee. Report for Teagasc. Oak Park, Carlow

Global Invasive Species Database

CABI Datasheet