Tropilaelaps

Tropilaelaps spp is also now a Notifiable Pest

This is another mite that has been found living on Apis mellifera honeybees. It breeds in a similar way to varroa, but is half the size and shaped like a beetle in that it moves in the direction of its length rather than sideways like varroa. It may be mistaken for a small wingless fly Braula coeca, the bee louse.  As Braula is a wingless fly it has 6 legs whereas all mites have 8 legs, like spiders. Tropilaelaps can move fast and probably jump. It is considered potentially more destructive to Apis mellifera than varroa destructor as it has a shorter phoretic period on adult bees (around 2 days instead of 6 for Varroa), drops into cells earlier and immediately feeds on the bee larva. This can cause bee larvae to fail to pupate.  It also reproduces slightly faster than varroa mites and can produce more mites per cell than varroa, though the number of fertile offspring produced per cell is believed to be similar. In India it is said to be more destructive than varroa and capable of killing a colony of A. mellifera bees in a single year. Its natural hosts are the “giant” honeybee species, Apis laboriosa and Apis dorsata, common in India and the Himalayas. It has a half size sister species, T.koenigerum, that has not yet been found on Apis mellifera. Formic acid has been used to control these mites.

If you suspect you have found Tropilaelaps you MUST report it to the NBU.