MORE INFO http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-08082007-153050/unrestricted/dissertation.pdf
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A final behavioural characteristic, the possibility that worker cell
size was responsible for the observed tolerance in Africanized and
African honeybees caused great excitement in beekeeping circles with
beekeepers in Europe, USA and New Zealand producing African-bee sized
foundation on which to keep their bees. African worker cells are
approximately 4.7mm in diameter, compared with 5.1mm for European
The idea was that these African cells did not have enough room for
varroa mites to reproduce, and originated with Message & Concalves
(1995) who reported lower varroa reproduction and lower varroa
infestation in the smaller Africanized cells. Medina & Martin (1999)
also found increased varroa offspring mortality in worker cells of
Africanized bees, compared to European bees, and suggested this was
because of the reduced cell size of African bees.
However, none of the early studies separated cell size with other
African (or Africanized) characteristics, such as a shorter post-
capping period. More recent studies (e.g Taylor 2005), using only
European bees but with different cell sizes, has shown that smaller
cells do not limit mite infestation or mite reproduction, and that
smaller cells might actually increase varroa infestation rates.
Taylor M (2005). "Varroa destuctor Not Thwarted by Smaller Cells".
Scottish Beekeeper 82, 252-253.
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