Presenter: Krispn Given, Purdue University

Selecting for Behavioral Resistance to Varroa Destructor

For over two decades we have been selecting for colonies that grow fewer Varroa mites with the use of sticky boards and most recently (2006) started selecting for chewed or damaged mites. We have demonstrated that colonies with a higher proportion of mites on their sticky boards due to grooming behavior also express more chewed mites when viewed in the lab. This talk will be an overview of the successful breeding program we have been conducting the last 22 years at Purdue and the mite-biter honey bee strain created there.


Queen and Drone Reproductive Biology 

Did you know after mating the drone’s endophallus emits ultraviolet light (UV) which attracts other drones to mate with her? This and many other mysteries of mating will be explained.


Krispn Given is Apiculture Specialist at Purdue University’s Department of Entomology in West Lafayette, Indiana. Krispn started breeding bees over 25 years ago. His responsibilities include maintaining the 120 research colonies, running the Purdue honey bee breeding program, teaching an annual queen rearing short course, managing the honey bee laboratory and extension activities. Krispn also teaches the instrumental insemination class each year at the university, annually gives lectures to beekeepers and researchers at national and international conferences and beekeepers meetings. His research is focused on selecting for behavioral resistance to Varroa destructor by selecting bees with behavioral traits, grooming, mite-biting. Krispn was instrumental in developing the new “mite-biter” bee strain, where they have demonstrated high-selected bees that chew 50% of the mites that are groomed off their bodies, the primary mechanism of defense is the ability to groom themselves free of Varroa mites and bite them (collaboration with Dr. Greg Hunt). Given plans to breed bees that tolerate viruses in the future as well. He has also been involved in several research projects the last fourteen years at Purdue, he is an author and co-author of numerous publications, including scientific and trade journal articles. Krispn has received numerous honors and awards. He also recently developed innovative instrumental insemination devices and equipment along with his partner Dale McMahan, a Mechanical Engineer from Purdue, and launched Apis Engineering, where breeders can purchase high-end instrumental insemination devices made in America.