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Breeding for Varroa resistance in bees in Europe 1.0

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Varroa resistance in bees in Europe

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Breeding for resistance to Varroa destructor in Europe* The rich variety of native honeybee subspecies and ecotypes in Europe offers a good genetic resource for selection towards Varroa resistance. There are some examples of mite resistance that have de- veloped as a consequence of natural selection in wild and managed European populations. However, most colonies are influenced by selective breeding and are intensively managed, including the regular use of miti- cides. We describe all characters used in European breeding programs to test for Varroa resistance. Some of them (e.g., mite population growth, hygienic behavior) have been implemented in large-scale selection pro- grams and significant selection effects have been achieved. Survival tests of pre-selected breeder colonies and drone selection under infestation pressure are new attempts to strengthen effects of natural selection within selective breeding programs. Some perspectives for future breeding activities are discussed.

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