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Insect ID Clinic


Honey Bee Diagnostic Services

Bee lice or braulids

Causative Agent: Braula coeca (Diptera, Braulidae)

Range: Primarily Eastern US

Life cycle:

  • Braulids are wingless flies that are about the same size as Varroa mites.
  • Hang off of the front of the bee's head and stimulates the bee to stick its tongue out. The braulid then feeds on whatever is on the tongue.
  • Female braulids are believed to lay their eggs on cappings of the honey, not brood.
  • Larvae hatch and burrow through the comb causing defects, luckily the honey is not damaged.


  • Largely considered a nuisance, management actions are rarely needed.

Other Useful Sites:

References used:

Root, A. I. (1990) The ABC & XYZ of bee culture 40 th ed. A.I Root Co. Medina, OH.

Printable pdf version



April 3, 2008