Varroa mites are external, obligate parasites of worker and drone honey bees. Varroa mites are visible to the naked eye and look somewhat like a tick. They feed on the hemolymph of adult bees and the developing brood. The reproduction cycle of the mite takes place inside the cells. Female mites (foundresses) enter the brood cells of last stage worker or drone larvae just prior to the cells being capped. There she will deposit five to six eggs over a period of time while feeding on the brood. The first egg laid will be unfertilized and develop into a male. The subsequent eggs will be fertilized and develop into females. The eggs hatch and the young mites begin to feed on the developing pupa. It is normal for mating to occur between siblings. The adult female mites along with the original female mites leave the cell when the bee emerges. The female mites will enter another cell or attach themselves to an adult bee to feed. Varroa mites are transported from colony to colony by drifting or robbing bees.

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