Russian honey bee
The Russian honeybee refers to honey bees (Apis mellifera) that originate in the Primorsky Krai region of Russia. This strain of bee was imported into the United States in 1997 by the USDA's Honeybee Breeding, Genetics & Physiology Laboratory in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in response to severe declines in bee populations caused by infestations of parasitic mites, and have been used in breeding programs to improve existing stocks.
Resistance to mites
Russian honey bees have an innate resistance to various parasitic mites. This strain occurs in the original native range of the varroa mite, and selective pressure could have favored bees that exhibited aggressive behavior against colony-level mite infestations. Accordingly, experimental research has found that mite populations decline in colonies of pure Russian and of hybrid Russian-Italian bees. The mechanisms through which mite populations are controlled in these colonies include hygienic behavior towards mites, and possibly increased aggression towards mites. Interestingly, Russian stocks also have been shown to resist infection by tracheal mites.
- Russian Honeybee Breeders Association http://www.russianbreeder.org
- Danka and Beaman 2009. Preliminary observations of autumn feeding of USDA-ARS Russian honey bees to enhance flight performance during almond pollination. http://www.beeculture.com/content/ScienceJournalMay2009.pdf
- De Guzman Rinderer, et al, Hygienic Behavior by Honey Bees From Far-Eastern Russian, American Bee Journal, Jan 2002
- Brachmann, Bob, p18, Characteristics of Russian Bees, Bee Culture, Nov 2004
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