Tracheal mite

Tracheal mite

Acarapis woodi

Common name:

Tracheal mite

Scientific name:

Acarapis woodi

Alternative common names:


Acarapis woodiis a tracheal mite affecting the respiratory system of honeybees, causing the disease acarapisosis. They are a parasite of insects.

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?

It is uncertain.

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA Category 1b.

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu-Natal and Free State.

How does it spread?

They spread within beehives as a result of direct contact between bees. Mites transfer quickly from bee to bee.

Why is it a problem?

It affects the respiratory system of honeybees, causing the disease acarapisosis, which results in weakened and sick honeybees with reduced lifespans. This decreases honey production.

What does it look like?

Description: It is a microscopic creature, whitish in colour and oval in shape with a few long, fine hairs on the legs and body. An adult mite has four pairs of legs and an immature mite has only three pairs. The mite has suctorial mouthparts for feeding on the host.

Habitat: Found in the respiratory system of honeybees.

Breeding: Females lay 5-7 eggs. The egg stage lasts 3-6 days, then the six-legged larvae emerge. The larvae complete their development and then emerge from the spiracles to move on to other bees. The development time for female mites from egg to nymph and gravid female is about 14 days. When they encounter a young bee, they enter the trachea. Bees less than nine days old are the most susceptible.

Leave a Reply