Braula coeca
Scientific Beekeeping
Scientific Beekeeping
Braula are are a type of wingless fly 1mm long and 0.6mm wide. They are not parasitic but the larvae may be found tunnelling through the wax in honeycomb. For this reason, in the past, beekeepers may have choosen not to produce cut comb as one of their products.

However now that varroa is found throughout the world, with the exception of Australia, the miticides used have all but irradicated Braula.

They are also known as the bee louse. The adults live on the honey bees, dropping down onto the comb only to lay eggs. A weak queen may be a host to many Braula.

Braula coeca is a highly specialised species that has adapted to inhabit honeybee colonies without being detected. Braula has a cuticular hydrocarbon profile that mirrors that of their host honeybees. This very close match will allow them to blend into the colony and so avoid detection by the worker bees.
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Is the Bee louse Braula coeca (Diptera) using chemical camouflage to survive within honeybee colonies?