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Tracheal mites (Acarapis woodi) have spread throughout Tennessee since their introduction in 1987. In the past decade, this parasite is believed responsible for 20 to 50 percent of losses of bee colonies statewide, with local losses reaching 100 percent. The mite has become a severe problem, in part due to the difficulty in detecting the minute parasite and to the ease with which contaminated bees can spread the mites. The mites are spread among the colonies by drifting bees, or by any activities of beekeepers involved in moving adult bees. Honey bees contaminated with mites can be found in swarms and in packaged bees and queens.

Another parasite, the Varroa mite (Varroa destructor), has become a severe pest of honey bees in Tennessee. Detailed information about Varroa mites is available in another factsheet; however, the sampling method described here will allow a beekeeper to use a single sample to detect both species of mite.

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SP409A-2.5M-1/02(Rev) E12-4615-00-015-02

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Entomology Commons