Varroosis of honey bees (infestation of honey bees with Varroa spp.) : Chapter 3.2.7
The mite, Varroa destructor (formerly identified as Varroa jacobsoni), is a parasite of honey bees. It feeds on the preimaginal host stages within the sealed brood cells and penetrates the intersegmental skin between the abdominal sclera of adult bees to ingest haemolymph and fat body tissues. While feeding, V. destructor transmits viruses – deformed wing virus, acute bee paralysis virus, Israeli acute paralysis virus and Kashmir bee virus, among others. Without treatment of the honey bee colony, the number of parasites steadily increases with the growth of the bee population and its increasing brood activity leading to the collapse of the colony within 1–4 years. The clinical signs of infestation that mainly occur late in the season, are an effect of virus infections rather than the effect of direct parasitism by the mite itself. The life span of the mite depends on temperature and humidity but, in practice, it can survive from some days to a few months.