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Traits of Hygienic Bees


Hygienic Bees search out varroa mites in cells and remove them. There is a you tube video that shows how the bees target cells to clean up sometimes saving the drone brood. http://youtu.be/GTFs7wv4F2s
I have been reading about the various behaviors. Some hygienic bees chew up the varroa mites while others drag out the drone brood to remove the mites.
Who has experience with hygienic bees and can tell us more? Is it a trait that bees can learn or do they have to be bred to be hygienic? Is one race of bee more prone to hygienic behavior?
I placed this topic under Pests and Diseases because Hygienic bees possess a focused goal on a specific pest, Varroa mites.


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Personally from what I have read, especially in the States, is that people are too quick to “treat” and not let bees develops their own mechanisms for dealing with pests.

I feel if you over treat and use too many chemicals you weaken the bees more and they have to fight the pest as well as defend against the introduced load of chemicals.

Darwin had a theory and bees have not come this far without developing strategies.

If you use clean/hygienic practices, have plenty of pollen and forage for the bees then they literally have a fighting chance.

Not to say I won’t do drone checks for mites or inspections for problems, but if I find problems make sure they have all they need to be and stay healthy.

Hard to shut the gate if the horse has bolted but good awareness of bee health and hygiene, hive condition and checks cannot go unheeded.

I also worry about the use of corn syrup. There has got to be a cossing over of GM RNA form corn crops and other GM food stuffs are acting as an added burden on bee health.

Just my 2c worth


I agree with both of you! I do not use chemicals on my bees nor in the hive.
My bees are taking care of themselves. I don’t requeen, or manage them.
But I too check and observe, letting them teach me.
They are demonstating what I think are hygienic traits. They cull their own drone brood of which there is very little. I am hoping to learn more about hygienic behavior. When I split the mother hive into 3 all of them are showing the same traits. I have read that a purchased hygienic queen does not always pass of the genes to her daughters. So I am hoping my bees developed the behavior on their own and will continue to pass it on.


Do you mean high fructose corn syrup, Valli? I don’t think that is common practice. Now everyone seems to be feeding white sugar syrup as best practice. For those that may not know, brown sugar causes diarrhea in bees and can lead to their death.

I seem to remember reading somewhere that there was research that suggested high fructose corn syrup, together with the chemicals that bees come into contact with, combined to be one of the factors of colony collapse disorder (but you know what research is like: not necessarily true nor accurate, despite peer reviews etc).

My bees seems to take care of most things by themselves but if I spot anything I can easily do - like squishing Small Hive Beetles - I lend a helping hand.


Surprisingly there are many well known Beekeeping catalogs that sells corn syrup in massive quantities. I don’t know if mostly commercial apiaries use it or not.


Yes - it probably comes from GM corn - That can’t be good


@Gayle here is a good site that can give you some of the different traits of bees. http://www.beesource.com/resources/usda/the-different-types-of-honey-bees/

and another:


Last month at my bee keepers association meeting it was brought up about a fairly new company that will produce queens with specific traits, i have not looked too deeply into it but understand it can be rather expensive, but also very effective. Here is their site:


hope those help


Thank you! I won’t purchase expensive queens but I heard the bees can learn hygienic behavior. I read up on the links you sent to me :slight_smile: