An apiary trial was conducted in 1997 in Sardinia, Italy, to verify the effectiveness of fluvalinate in polyvinyl chloride strips and flumethrin in polyethylene strips against Varroa jacobsoni Oudemans. Two indices to evaluate the efficacy of the treatments were adopted: percentage change in mite infestation of worker-sealed brood cells considering only treated hives and percentage change in mite mortality, and the natural variation in mite populations recorded in control hives during the trial. All acaricide treatments reduced the level of mite infestation of both sealed brood and adult bees. However, their effectiveness was slightly reduced in comparison to previous studies because of mite resistance phenomena. Portions of polyethylene strips of flumethrin from treated hives were sampled weekly to determine acaricide persistence using gas chromatography. After 4 wk, a slight reduction (≈9%) of the active ingredient content was observed. A laboratory bioassay also was performed to establish the resistance of adult female mites to fluvalinate. Mites were sampled from the experimental apiary and from various Sardinian apiaries which had primarily been subjected to fluvalinate applications in plastic strips or wood inserts for years. Mite resistance varied from 0 to 96%, depending on the acaricide management adopted. The lowest resistance level occurred in an apiary where pyrethroids had never been used, whereas the highest level occurred in an apiary with intensive use of fluvalinate in wood inserts.
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Vol. 94 • No. 4