A Study of Hygienic and Grooming Behaviors in the Iranian Honeybee (Apis mellifera meda) Colonies Against Varroa destructor


  • Rasol Taheri Imam Kandi Animal Science Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Urmia University, Urmia, Iran
  • Mokhtar Ghafari Animal Science Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Urmia University, Urmia, Iran
  • Ataollah Rahimi Animal Science Research Department, Kurdistan Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Education Center, AREEO, Sanandaj, Iran
  • Ali Hashemi Animal Science Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Urmia University, Urmia, Iran




Apis mellifera meda, Varroa destructor, hygienic behavior, Iran


This study evaluated the grooming and uncapping & removing hygienic behaviors of the honeybee colonies of the West Azerbaijan province of Iran from April 2021 to October 2022. Eighty colonies of Iranian honeybees infected with Varroa mite from Mahabad, Urmia, Oshnavieh, and Khoy cities of West Azerbaijan province were selected and studied regarding grooming and uncapping & removing hygienic behaviors. The results showed that there is no significant difference between the studied cities in terms of grooming behavior. The results showed that the season affects the grooming behavior of honeybee colonies in the studied cities. Therefore, the grooming behavior of the studied honeybee population in summer was significantly higher than that of colonies in spring (P < 0.05). Comparing the means of uncapping & removing hygienic behaviors after 48 hours showed that the honeybee colonies of the studied cities significantly differ in terms of these behaviors (P < 0.05). So, the highest and lowest averages of uncapping & removing hygienic behaviors after 48 hours were observed in the honeybee colonies of Khoy and Oshnavieh cities, respectively. The results showed a positive correlation between hygienic behaviors and all the functional-behavioral characteristics of honeybee colonies in this research. Our finding showed that the Iranian honeybee colonies of West Azerbaijan province of Iran can defend themselves against the Varroa mite by performing both grooming and uncapping & removing hygienic behaviors. Therefore, it is possible to improve the level of these behaviors in the honeybee colonies of this province by implementing breeding programs.


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How to Cite

Kandi, R. T. I., Ghafari, M., Rahimi, A., & Hashemi, A. (2024). A Study of Hygienic and Grooming Behaviors in the Iranian Honeybee (Apis mellifera meda) Colonies Against Varroa destructor . Sociobiology, 71(2), e10302. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v71i2.10302



Research Article - Bees