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Mite species inhabiting commercial bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) nests in Polish greenhouses

Rożej, Elżbieta, Witaliński, Wojciech, Szentgyörgyi, Hajnalka, Wantuch, Marta, Moroń, Dawid, Woyciechowski, Michal
Experimental & applied acarology 2012 v.56 no.3 pp. 271-282
Bombus terrestris, Hypoaspis, Parasitidae, Tyrophagus putrescentiae, business enterprises, greenhouses, honey bee colonies, mites, nests, parasitism, pollen, social insects, species diversity, transportation, Poland
Nests of social insects are usually inhabited by various mite species that feed on pollen, other micro-arthropods or are parasitic. Well-known negative effects of worldwide economic importance are caused by mites parasitizing honeybee colonies. Lately, attention has focused on the endoparasitic mite Locustacarus buchneri that has been found in commercial bumblebees. However, little is known of other mites associated with commercial bumblebee nests. Transportation of commercial bumblebee colonies with unwanted residents may introduce foreign mite species to new localities. In this study, we assessed the prevalence and species composition of mites associated with commercial bumblebee nests and determined if the mites are foreign species for Poland and for Europe. The study was conducted on 37 commercial bumblebee nests from two companies (Dutch and Israeli), originating from two greenhouses in southern Poland, and on 20 commercial bumblebee colonies obtained directly from suppliers. The species composition and abundance of mites inhabiting commercial bumblebee nests were determined. Seven mite species from three families were found in nests after greenhouse exploitation. The predominant mite species was Tyrophagus putrescentiae (Acaridae) that was a 100-fold more numerous than representatives of the family Laelapidae (Hypoaspis marginepilosa, H. hyatti, H. bombicolens). Representatives of Parasitidae (Parasitellus fucorum, P. crinitus, P. ignotus) were least numerous. All identified mite species are common throughout Europe, foreign species were not found. Mites were not detected in nests obtained directly from suppliers. We conclude that probably bumblebee nests are invaded by local mite species during greenhouse exploitation.