Honey bee, Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae), colonies infested by parasitic mites are more prone to suffer from a variety of stresses, including cold temperature. We evaluated the overwintering ability of candidate breeder lines of Russian honey bees, most of which are resistant to both Varroa destructor Anderson & Trueman and Acarapis woodi (Rennie), during 1999–2001. Our results indicate that Russian honey bee colonies (headed by original and supersedure queens) can successfully overwinter in the north, even during adverse weather conditions, owing to their frugal use of food stores and their resistance to tracheal mite infestations. In contrast, colonies of Italian honey bees consumed more food, had more mites, and lost more adult bees than Russian honey bees, even during unusually mild winter conditions.
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Vol. 98 • No. 6