Using Surrogate Insects in Acid Bioassays for Development of New Controls for Varroa destructor (Arachnida: Varroidae)

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Resistance to traditional synthetic compounds by Varroa destructor Anderson and Trueman and shortcomings of the organic acid class of acaracides commonly used in varroa management requires continual development of new controls. V. destructor, however, are difficult to obtain for use in control bioassays because they are obligate parasites that cannot be easily reared outside of a honey bee colony. We conducted bioassays using other, more easily obtainable species to find organisms that could be used as surrogates for V. destructor when testing new potential controls. We compared the toxicities of acetic acid, lactic acid, formic acid, and oxalic acid at 0.005%, 0.05%, 0.5%, 5%, and 50% (20% oxalic acid only) concentrations based on natural volatility (nonheated) for the control of two beetle species, Oryzaephilus surinamensis L. and Alphitobius diaperinus Panzer, greater wax moth larvae, Galleria mellonella L., and V. destructor. The assay results were consistent across all species with formic acid and acetic acid showing 100% mortality of all four test species at 50% concentration. The assays also provided insight into the method of application (vaporization or contact) needed to cause mortality. Our results show that other organisms can be used in place of V. destructor for initial testing of acids and possibly other chemicals for control of the ectoparasite.

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Journal of Economic Entomology