First reported in the wild
Invasive species - risk of High Impact
Introduction pathways - 1
Introduction pathways subclass - 1
Parasites on animals
NAPRA Ireland risk assessed
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.
Untreated honeybee colonies will collapse within two years (Coffey, 2007).
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
Ectoparasite on the honeybee Apis mellifera.
Established - Widespread & Common. A 2006 study found that 72% of colonies in Ireland were infected with Varroa destructor (Coffey et al., 2011).
Native to Asia, where it is a parasite on the Asian honey bee (Apis cerana). Now introduced to all continents except Australia and Antarctica.
Date of first record category
Fifty year date category
Records submitted to Data Centre in 2019
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How can you help
Report any sightings to the National Biodiversity Data Centre.
A 2007 report by Dr. Mary Coffey details the biology of Varroa destructor, as well as monitoring and eradication methods.
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