Impact of the phoretic phase on reproduction and damage caused by Varroa destructor to the European Honey Bee. raw_data.xlsx
We investigated if the type of bees on which Varroa stays during the phoretic phase and if the duration of this stay influenced the reproductive success of the parasite and the damage caused to bees. For that purpose, we used an in vitro rearing method developed in our laboratory to assess egg laying rate and the presence and number of fully molted daughters. The expression level of two Varroa vitellogenin genes (VdVg1 and VdVg2), known to vary throughout reproduction, was also quantified. Results showed that the status of the bees or time spent during the phoretic phase impacts neither reproduction parameters nor the Varroa vitellogenin genes levels of expression. However, we correlated these parameters to the gene expression and demonstrated that daughters expressed the vitellogenin genes at lower levels than their mother. Regarding the damage to bees, the data indicated that a longer stay on adult bees during the phoretic phase resulted in more frequent physical deformity in newborn bees. We showed that those mites carry more viral loads of the Deformed Wing Virus and hence trigger more frequently overt infections. This study provides new perspectives towards a better understanding of the Varroa-honeybee interactions.