Varroatosis, caused by the Varroa destructor mite, is currently the most dangerous parasitic disease threatening the survival of honey bees worldwide. Its adverse effect on the welfare and health of honey bees requires the regular use of specific acaricides. This condition has led to a growing development of resistance phenomena towards the most frequently used drugs. In addition, another important aspect that should not be understated, is the toxicity and persistence of chemicals in the environment. Therefore, the identification of viable and environmentally friendly alternatives is urgently needed. In this scenario, essential oils are promising candidates. The aim of this study was to assess the contact toxicity, the fumigation efficacy and the repellent effect of Origanum heracleoticum L. essential oil (EO) against V. destructor mite. In the contact tests, each experimental replicate consisted of 15 viable adult female mites divided as follows: 5 treated with EO diluted in HPLC grade acetone, 5 treated with acetone alone (as negative control) and 5 treated with Amitraz diluted in acetone (as positive control). The EO was tested at concentrations of 0.125, 0.25, 0.5, 1 and 2 mg/mL. For each experimental replicate, mortality was manually assessed after one hour. The efficacy of EO fumigation was evaluated through prolonged exposure at different time intervals. After each exposure, the 5 mites constituting an experimental replicate were transferred to a Petri dish containing a honey bee larva and mortality was assessed after 48 h. The repellent action was investigated by implementing a directional choice test in a mandatory route. During the repellency tests the behavior of the mite (90 min after its introduction in the mandatory route) was not influenced by the EO. In contact tests, EO showed the best efficacy at 2 and 1 mg/mL concentrations, neutralizing (dead + inactivated) 90.9% and 80% of the mites, respectively. In fumigation tests, the mean mortality rate of V. destructor at maximum exposure time (90 min) was 60% and 84% at 24 and 48 h, respectively. Overall, these results demonstrate a significant efficacy of O. heracleoticum EO against V. destructor, suggesting a possible alternative use in the control of varroatosis in honey bee farms in order to improve Apis mellifera welfare and health and, consequently, the hive productions.

Green Veterinary Pharmacology for Honey Bee Welfare and Health: Origanum heracleoticum L. (Lamiaceae) Essential Oil for the Control of the Apis mellifera Varroatosis

Marrelli M.;Conforti F.;
2022

Abstract

Varroatosis, caused by the Varroa destructor mite, is currently the most dangerous parasitic disease threatening the survival of honey bees worldwide. Its adverse effect on the welfare and health of honey bees requires the regular use of specific acaricides. This condition has led to a growing development of resistance phenomena towards the most frequently used drugs. In addition, another important aspect that should not be understated, is the toxicity and persistence of chemicals in the environment. Therefore, the identification of viable and environmentally friendly alternatives is urgently needed. In this scenario, essential oils are promising candidates. The aim of this study was to assess the contact toxicity, the fumigation efficacy and the repellent effect of Origanum heracleoticum L. essential oil (EO) against V. destructor mite. In the contact tests, each experimental replicate consisted of 15 viable adult female mites divided as follows: 5 treated with EO diluted in HPLC grade acetone, 5 treated with acetone alone (as negative control) and 5 treated with Amitraz diluted in acetone (as positive control). The EO was tested at concentrations of 0.125, 0.25, 0.5, 1 and 2 mg/mL. For each experimental replicate, mortality was manually assessed after one hour. The efficacy of EO fumigation was evaluated through prolonged exposure at different time intervals. After each exposure, the 5 mites constituting an experimental replicate were transferred to a Petri dish containing a honey bee larva and mortality was assessed after 48 h. The repellent action was investigated by implementing a directional choice test in a mandatory route. During the repellency tests the behavior of the mite (90 min after its introduction in the mandatory route) was not influenced by the EO. In contact tests, EO showed the best efficacy at 2 and 1 mg/mL concentrations, neutralizing (dead + inactivated) 90.9% and 80% of the mites, respectively. In fumigation tests, the mean mortality rate of V. destructor at maximum exposure time (90 min) was 60% and 84% at 24 and 48 h, respectively. Overall, these results demonstrate a significant efficacy of O. heracleoticum EO against V. destructor, suggesting a possible alternative use in the control of varroatosis in honey bee farms in order to improve Apis mellifera welfare and health and, consequently, the hive productions.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/335303
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