Technology of keeping bee with the purpose of increasing activity and hygienic behavior

DOI: 10.32900/2312-8402-2022-128-140-151

Maslii Iryna,
Candidate of Veterinary Medicine. Sci., Senior Researcher,–0002–8671–3356,
Institute of animal science of NAAS of Ukraine

Keywords: technology of keeping bees, activity of hygienic behavior, diseases, grooming


The study examined the technology of keeping bees in order to increase the activity of hygienic behavior as a factor of natural resistance. The aim of the work was to study the activity of hygienic behavior by determining differences in bees of different breeds, zoned on the territory of Ukraine, in different families of the same breed in different apiaries, healthy and with signs of infectious diseases, as well as studying the specificity of the behavior of adult bees in cleaning the body from parasites (mites Varroa) and recognition and removal of infectioned pupae from brood cells. There was presented the correlation of the activity of hygienic behavior on the breed characteristics and strength of the bee colony. It was determined that the Ukrainian steppe breed of bees had a demonstrative activity of hygienic behavior and was more resistant to infection by ectoparasites and pathogens compared to the Carpathian breed. The difference in the duration of complete cleaning of the cells in bee colonies of the Ukrainian steppe and Carpathian breeds was 4±1 hours on average. There was explored the study of the hygienic behavior of honey bees before the recognition and removal of infectioned pupae from the sealed working brood within the same breed. Bee activity lasted for 6 days, the intensity was maximum in the first three days: on average, 64,5% of damaged pupae were removed. However, the reactions of bees were nonspecific in relation to the parasite. After 6 days no significant differences were found between mechanically damaged cells (47,7%) and cells infectioned by the Varroa mite (48.3%).
The activity of bees was manifested during six days, the intensity of grooming and hygienic behavior was maximum during the first three days: on average, 77,4% of Varroa females were thrown from the bees’ bodies and 64.5% of damaged pupae were removed from the cells. However, the reactions of the bees were not specific to the parasite, the corresponding cleaning movements were performed by the bees in the control experiments as well.


  1. Fedoruk, R. S., Kovalchuk, A. R., & Gavraniak, A. R. (2009). Factoru formyvannia imynitety medonosnush bdgil [Factors of formation of immunity of honey bees]. Biologia tvarin – Biology of creatures. Lviv, 11. (1). 83–90 [in Ukrainian].
  2. Krivcova, L. S., (2000). Perspektivu selekcii na ystoichevost pchelinih semei k nosematosy [Prospects for breeding for resistance of bee colonies to nosematosis]. Sbornik rabot po pchelovodstvy – Sat. research work on beekeeping. Ribnoe, 72–80 [in Russian].
  3. Haritonov, A. N. (2006). Selekciya ystoichevuh k zabolevaniav pchel [Selection of disease-resistant bees]. Pchelovodstvo  – Beekeeping. 15–16 [in Russian].
  4. Bar, E., & Rosenkranz, P. (1992). Specific grooming behaviour towards brood cells infested with Varroa jacobsoni of different honey bee races, Ann. Univ. M. Curue-SklodowskaMedicina Veterinaria. 47. 1–6.
  5. Chmielewski, W. (1992). The attempt to characterize damage of Varroa jacobsoni Oud. body collected from winter hive debris, Ann. Univ. M. Curue-Sklodowska. Medicina Veterinaria. 47. 19–22.
  6. Spivak, M., & Gilliam, M. (1998). Hygienic behaviour of honey bees and its application for cjntrol of brood diseases and varroa. Part I Hygienic behaviour resistance to American foulbrood, Bee World. 79. 124–134.
  7. Spivak, M., & Gilliam, M. (1998). Hygienic behaviour of honey bees and its application for control of brood diseases and varroa. Part II: Studies on hygienic behaviour since the Rothenbuhler. Bee World. 79, 4. 169–186.
  8. Labinskaya A. S., (1978) Mikrobiologiya s tehnikoi mikrobiologicheskih issledovanii [Microbiology with Microbiological Research Techniques]. M. Medicina [Medicine]. 155–156 [in Russian].
  9. Kefuss, J., Taber S., Van Pouecke, J., & Rey, F. J. (1996). Un método prático para comprobar el comportamiento higiénico, Vida Apicola. 76. 26–29.
  10. Akimov, I. A., & Kirushin,V. I. (2008). Vozmozhnue pyti adaptacii Apismellifera (Hymenoptera, Apidae) k parasitirovanij klecsha Varroadestructor[Possible Ways of Adaptation of Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera, Apidae) to Parasitism of the Varroa destructor Mite], Vesnik zoologii– Herald of Zoology. 42(13). 237–247 [in Ukrainian].
  11. Nemkova, S. N., & Maslii, I. G., (2005). Aktivnost gigienicheskogo povedeniya medonosnoi pchelu Apismellifera L. (HymenopteraApoidae) [The activity of hygienic behavior of the honey bee Apis mellifera L.] Izvestiya Harkovskogo Entomologicheskogo obcshestva – Proceedings of the Kharkiv Entomological Society. Kharkiv, XII (1–2). 191–194 [in Ukrainian].
  12. Maslii, I. G., & Nemkova, S. N., (2006). Vpliv riznuh faktoriv na aktuvnist “gigienichnoi povedinku” y bdgil [The influence of various factors on the activity of “hygienic behavior” in bees]. Visnuk Bilocerkivsrogo DAY [Visnyk Bilotserkivskogo DAU: Collection. of science works], Bila Cerkva. 36. 96–100 [in Ukrainian].
  13. Delaplane, K. S., & Hood, W. M. (1999). Economic threshold for Varroa jacobsoni Oud. in the southeastern USA. Apidologie. 30, 3. 383–395.
  14. Gilliam, M. Taber, S., Lorenz, B., & Prest, D. (1988). Factors affecting development of chalkbrood diseases in colonies of honey bees, Apis mellifera, fed pollen contaminated with Ascosphera apis. J. Invertebr. Patol. 52. 314–325.
  15. Harbo, J. R., & Harris, J. W. (1999). Selection honey bees for resistance to Varroa destructor, Apidologie. 30, 2. 183–196.
  16. Ibrahim, A., & Spivak, M. (2006). The relationship between hygienic behavior and suppression of mite reproduction as honey bee (Apis mellifera) mechanisms of resistance to Varroa destructor, Apidologie. 37, 1. 31–40.
  17. Milani, N., & Vedova, G. D. (2002). Decline in the proportion of mites resistant to fluvalinate in a population of Varroa destructor not treated with pyrethroids. Apidologie. 33, 4. 417–422.
  18. Morse, R. A., Miska, D., & Masenheimer, J. A. (1991). Varroa Resistance in U. S. Honey Bees. American Bee Journal. 131. 433–434.
  19. Spivak, M., & Reuter, G. S. (2001). Resistance to American foulbrood diseases by honey bee colonies Apis mellifera bred for hygienic behavior. Apidologie. 32, 5. 555–565.
  20. Thompson, H. M., Brown, M. A., Ball, R. F., & Bew, M. H. (2002). First reported of Varroa destructor resistance to pyrethroids in the UK. Apidologie. 33, 4. 357–366.
  21. Vandame, R. Morand, S.,Colin, M. E, & Belzuncer, L. P. (2002). Parasitism in the social bee Apis mellifera: quantifying costs and benefits of behavioral resistance to Varroa destructor mites. Apidologie. 33, 4. 433–445.
  22. Palacio, M. A., Rodriguez, E., Goncalves, L., Bedascarrasbure, E., & Spivak, M. (2010). Original article Hygienic behaviors of honey bees in response to brood experimentally pin-killed or infected with Ascosphaera apis. Apidologie. 41, 602–610
  23. Oxlery, P. R., Spivak, M., & Oldroyd, B. P. (2010). Six quantitative trait loci influence task thresholds for hygienic behaviour in honeybees (Apis melliferaMolecular Ecology. 19, 7. 1452–1461.