Chitosan-based gel application on model bees (Apis mellifera L.) for healing bite wounds caused by Varroa destructor

ÖZKIRIM A. , Kucukozmen B.

JOURNAL OF APICULTURAL RESEARCH, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume:
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/00218839.2021.1935129


Chitin is basically responsible for protecting the body of honey bees against external attacks due to its hard cellulose structure. The chitin-structured body of honey bees is destroyed by Varroa destructor, the world's most devastating pest of Western honey bees; causes honey bee decline. Varroa harms honey bees not only by feeding but also by the wounds it inflicts. Varroa bites cause a hole in the centre of the wound, which is a source of bacterial infection. In this study, the aim was to investigate the potential application of a chitosan-based gel to recover the chitin layer. The experiment was set up in eight cages. Varroa bites were artificially created on experimental bees called as model honey bees in cages. Different solutions of a chitosan-based gel at different doses were applied to the cages. Results revealed that Varroa bite wounds do not heal until day 9 in control cages. Healing of wounds by chitosan-based gel application on 1-3 and 3-6 days showed dose dependence. In addition, the gel prevented hair loss in honey bees, which was observed as a side effect of Varroa infestation. In addition, chitosan dissolved in organic acids is a key advantage for the treatment of V. destructor in parallel with wound healing.