Received: 8 April 2020 /Accepted: 6 September 2020
# Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

Assessing the resistance to acaricides in Varroa destructor
from several Spanish locations


Mariano Higes1 & Raquel Martín-Hernández1,2 & Carmen Sara Hernández-Rodríguez3 &
Joel González-Cabrera3

Varroosis is the disease caused by the ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor, one of the most destructive diseases of honeybees. In Spain, there is great concern because there are many therapeutic failures after acaricide treatments intended to control varroosis outbreaks. In some of these cases it is not clear whether such failures are due to the evolution of resistance. Therefore, it is of high interest the development of methodologies to test the level of resistance in mite populations. In this work, a simple bioassay methodology was used to test whether some reports on low efficacy in different regions of Spain were in fact related to reduced
Varroa sensitivity to the most used acaricides. This bioassay proved to be very effective in evaluating the presence of mites that survive after being exposed to acaricides. In the samples tested, the mortality caused by coumaphos ranged from 2 to 89%; for tau-fluvalinate, it ranged from 5 to 96%. On the other hand, amitraz caused 100% mortality in all cases. These results suggest the presence of Varroa resistant to coumaphos and fluvalinate in most of the apiaries sampled, even in those where these active ingredients were not used in the last years. The bioassay technique presented here, either alone or in combination with other molecular tools, could be useful in detecting mite populations with different sensitivity to acaricides, which is of vital interest in selecting the best management and/or acaricide strategy to control the parasite in apiaries.