|This micrograph shows bee trachea infested with mites.|
The tracheal mite, Acarapis woodi, is a serious and growing problem for beekeepers. The microscopic internal mite clogs the breathing tubes of adult bees, blocking oxygen flow and eventually killing them. Mature female acarine mites leave the bee's airway and climb out on a hair of the bee, where they wait until they can transfer to a young bee.
|Mature female acarine mite attached to bee hair|
Once on the new bee, they will move into the airways and begin laying eggs. Also called acarine disease, it affects the flight efficiency and causes a large number of crawling bees outside the hive that are unable to fly. The inability to fly can contribute to losses of field bees and reduction of food stores in the colony. Another symptom is the abnormal "disjointed" position of the wings of walking bees.