PhD research: Defense mechanism of African honey bee (in the case of Ethiopian honey bee) against pests and pathogens

October 2016 to September 2020
varroa mite
honey bee
Research fields
Agriculture and Food Sciences

Worldwide, the ecto-parasitic mite Varroa destructor and viral pathogens has been assigned as an important driver of honey bee (Apis mellifera) colony losses. Unlike the subspecies of European origin, the honey bees in some African countries such as Uganda and Ethiopia may not be as threatened or suffer less from mite-infestations and viral pathogens. This highlights to raise a question "why African bees suffer less from pathogens and pests? ". However, only little is known about the factors or traits that enable them to co-exist with the mite and viruses without beekeepers’ intervention. Hence, this study is designed to investigate the factors or traits that limit the Varroa mite population in Ethiopian honey bees (Apis mellifera simensis). It is also intended to investigate the diversity of viruses associated with Ethiopian honey and the antivirus defense mechanism of the local honey bee. The study will be conducted in the primary honey producing region of Ethiopia, i.e. Tigray.