Varroa destructor Anderson & Trueman, 2000

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English Varroa mite Status LU: established. 1st record: 1985.
Lëtzebuergesch Varroamilb Status Eur.: established.
Français n/a RA: ISEIA: A3, Black List. Harmonia+: n/a.
Deutsch Varroamilbe Wikipedia: Wikipedia - English - Varroa mite Wikipedia - Français - Varroa destructor Wikipedia - Deutsch - Varroamilbe Nederlands | Wikispecies: Wikispecies - Varroa destructor | CABI
Nederlands Varroamijt Back to the list of invertebrates

Report the species

Report Varroa destructor to the National Museum of Natural History.

Brief description

7-Varroa destructor on head bee pupa3 by Gilles San MartinVarroa destructor Anderson & Trueman, 2000 is an external parasitic mite that attack and feeds on the honey bees Apis cerana and Apis mellifera. The disease caused by the mites is called varroosis. The Varroa mite can only reproduce in a honey bee colony. It attaches to the body of the bee and weakens the bee by sucking fat bodies. The species is a vector for at least five debilitating bee viruses, including RNA viruses such as the deformed wing virus (DWV). A significant mite infestation leads to the death of a honey bee colony, usually in the late autumn through early spring. The Varroa mite is the parasite with possibly the most pronounced economic impact on the beekeeping industry. Varroa is considered to be one of multiple stress factors contributing to the higher levels of bee losses around the world.

The adult female mite is reddish-brown in color, while the male is white. Varroa mites are flat, having a button shape. They are 1–1.8 mm long and 1.5–2 mm wide, and have eight legs. Mites reproduce on a 10-day cycle (Wikipedia contributors 2020).

Status and distribution in Luxembourg

Varroa destructor Anderson & Trueman, 2000 was observed for the first time in Luxembourg in 1985 (Meisch 1986). Claude Meisch recalls: “At that time it was a delicate matter, no beekeeper wanted to admit that he had the parasite in his hives. I remember well that I was the first to admit in meetings that I had found Varroa in my hives. Probably Varroa was already widespread in the whole country at that time” (Meisch 2018).

In the 1980s, Varroa spread throughout the country and is nowadays present in every beehive.

There is no distribution map available because no data has been entered into the Recorder-Lux database so far (MNHNL, iNaturalist & GBIF 2019).

Risk assessment

ISEIA protocol

A3 (3+3+3+3) = Black List (Ries et al. 2017: 68).

Harmonia+ protocol

Not assessed yet.

Worldwide distribution

CABI 2008:


  • CABI, 2008. Varroa destructor Anderson & Trueman, 2000 [original text by Claire Beverley]. In: Invasive Species Compendium. Wallingford, UK: CAB International. URL: [accessed 2019-11-26]
  • MNHNL, iNaturalist & GBIF, 2019. MNHNL-mdata, online portal combining species observation from Recorder-Lux, iNaturalist and GBIF. National Museum of Natural History, Luxembourg. URL: [Accessed 2019-10-24]
  • Meisch, C., 1986. Die Varroamilbe. Geschichte der Ausbreitung, Portrait und Biologie. Pp. 174-177 in: Livre d’or du centenaire 1886-1986. Fédération des unions d’apiculteurs du grand-duché de Luxembourg.
  • Meisch, C., 2018. Personal communication to Lucie Lentz during Summer 2018.
  • Ries, C., A. Arendt, C. Braunert, S. Christian, A. Dohet, A. Frantz, G. Geimer, M. Hellers, J. A. Massard, X. Mestdagh, R. Proess, N. Schneider & M. Pfeiffenschneider, 2017. Environmental impact assessment and black, watch and alert list classification after the ISEIA Protocol of invertebrates in Luxembourg. Bull. Soc. Nat. luxemb. 119: 63-70. [PDF 360 KB]
  • Wikipedia contributors, 2020. ‘Varroa destructor’, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 19 February 2020, 15:24 UTC, <> [accessed 2020-03-13]

 Page content last updated on 2021-05-14. Last proofread by Caroline Grounds on 2019-12-12.