The devastating effects of Varroa destructor on European honeybee colonies (Apis mellifera L.) have
been well documented. Not only do these mites cause physical damage to parasitised individuals when they feed on
them, they also transmit viruses and other pathogens, weaken colonies and can ultimately cause their death.
Nevertheless, not all honeybee colonies are doomed once Varroa mites become established. Some populations, such
as the savannah honeybee, A. m. scutellata, have become tolerant after the introduction of the parasite and are able
to withstand the presence of these mites without the need for acaricides. In this study, we measured daily Varroa
mite fall, Varroa infestation rates of adult honeybees and worker brood and total Varroa population size in acaricide
treated and untreated honeybee colonies. In addition, honeybee colony development was compared in order to
measure the cost incurred by Varroa mites to their hosts. Daily Varroa mite fall decreased over the experimental
period with different dynamics in treated and untreated colonies. Varroa infestation rates in treated adult honeybees
and brood were lower than in untreated colonies, but not significantly so. Thus indicating a minimal benefit of
treatment thereby suggesting that A. m. scutellata have the ability to maintain mite populations at low levels. We
obtained baseline data on Varroa population dynamics in a tolerant honeybee over the winter period. Varroa mites
appeared to have a low impact on this honeybee population, given that colony development was similar in the
treated and untreated colonies.