A Field Experiment to Assess the Rate of Infestation in Honey Bee Populations of Two Metarhizium anisopliae Isolates on Varroa destructor (Acari: Mesostigmata).
AbstractBackground: The protective effect of two isolates of an entomopathogenic fungus, Metarhizium anisopliae (DEMI 002 and Iran 437C) on the adult stage of Varroa destructor was evaluated in comparison with fluvalinate strips in the field.Methods: A total of 12 honey bee colonies were provided from an apiculture farm. The selected hives were divided into 4 groups (3 hives per group). The first group was the control, treated with distilled water. The other two groups were exposed to different fungi (M. anisopliae isolates DEMI 002 and Iran 437C) and the last group was treated with one strip of fluvalinate per colony. The number of fallen mites was counted using sticky traps during a 6-day period, six days before and after treatments. A fungal suspension at a concentration of 5× 106 conidia/mL was sprayed onto the frames and the number of fallen mites was counted.Results: Metarhizium anisopliae DEMI 002 and Iran 437C isolates were as effective (i.e., caused as much mite fall)as the fluvalinate strip in controlling bee colonies than no treatment.Conclusion: Both M. anisopliae isolates are promising candidates as agents in the control of Varroa mites under field conditions. Isolate DEMI 002 can be considered as a possible non-chemical biocontrol agent for controlling bee infestation with V. destructor in the field. In order to substantiate this hypothesis, tests are currently being performed using larger colonies and larger doses than tested in the present study in our beekeeping.
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