Overview

Comprehensive Description

Differential diagnosis

*Adult bee louse (Braula):

-body structure: rounded, six legged, comb like feet (for holding onto bee hairs), covered in setae, wingless (aptera), eyeless

-coloration: reddish brown

-size: 1.5 millimeters in length and 0.75 millimeters in width

-home: live “clinged” on bees (with help from bristle/comb like feet), usually one braula per bee and there may be more than one on queen bees

-source of food: Braula feed on honey which is sucked from a bee’s mouth during regurgitation of the honey into comb cells, with the help of the Braulid’s own sucking mouth organ

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Distribution

*Braula have been found in:

-Mediterranean (France, Italy, Germany)

-South America (Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Argentina)

-Other countries include Holland, Nepal, South Africa (anywhere honeybees may be found!)

-It’s rare to find Braula in places of cold weather like Russia, Canada, Alaska etc.

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Ecology

Associations

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Animal / guest
Braula coeca is a guest in nest of Apis mellifera

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Hosts

Braula coeca as an adult is an ecoparasite on honey bees (Apis mellifera) and as an immature (maggot stage) lives in the combs of the honey bee nests

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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

*life stage 1 egg:

-eggs are found on the inner side of cappings, and occasionally on cell walls.

*Instar stage 2 larvae: 7.1 to 10.8 days

-while larvae will feed on the honeycomb wax (as well as pollen grains), they construct tunnels throughout the honeycomb wax, making this their home until pupation.

*Instar stage 2 pupa: 1 to 2.7 days

-pupation takes place at the ends of larval tunnels until the braulids have emerged as full adults, soon to make their exit through a hole out onto the surface of the honeycomb

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