Preparing for Varroa: How susceptible are Australian honey bee stocks?

The University of Sydney

  • Project code: PRJ-005626

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Saturday, May 1, 2010

  • Project completion date: Monday, June 25, 2012

  • National Priority: HBE-Improve understanding of nutrition best practice and disease interaction


The aim of the project is to determine the susceptibility of typical colonies of Australian commercial honey bees to Varroa. This knowledge is needed as part of Australia’s national strategy to prepare for the arrival of Varroa. If our Australian stocks are highly susceptible, then we should plan to import resistant stocks or breed them. If our stocks show similar levels of resistance to American stocks, then this information will assist in marketing Australian queens in the US and elsewhere.
We will evaluate mite resistance in 7 Australian stocks and three American stocks, two that are known to have good mite resistance and a third that is known to be susceptible to Varroa. Evaluations will be done in a commercial apiary in Kansas USA, and the measure of resistance will be the growth of the population of mites present in a colony over the honey producing season.


Honey Bee

Research Organisation

The University of Sydney

Objective Summary

An assessment under commercial conditions of the relative resistance/susceptibility of 7 lines of Australian honey bees to Varroa.