Hygienic Behaviour of Stocks of the Western Australian Honeybee Breeding Program

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A study of the hygienic behaviour of bees from the Western Australian Queen Bee Breeding Program (Better Bees group) showed that some breeding lines exhibited higher levels of hygienic behaviour in the removal of dead brood than other lines.
Hygienic behaviour is a mechanism of disease resistance where bees are able to remove brood from the nest before the pathogen becomes infectious. Honeybees having the hygienic trait show resistance to diseases such as American foulbrood, chalkbrood and to some limited extent the parasite varroa.
Further knowledge of hygienic behaviour should assist queen bee breeders to exploit those identified lines to produce by instrumental insemination a “hygienic” line for beekeepers Australia-wide so apiaries of bees will be more resistant to bee diseases.

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