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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Comparison of the Dietary and Tissue Sterols of the Small Hive Beetle Aethina Tumida (Coleoptera:nitidulidae)

item Feldlaufer, Mark
item Pettis, Jeffery

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 1, 2000
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The small hive beetle is a newly introduced pest of honey bee colonies and stored honey. Beetles that attack stored honey can render the honey unusable. We compared the dietary sterols (e.g. cholesterol) to the sterols found in immature beetles, and found that beetles can convert the sterols in their diets to cholesterol. We then tested a chemical compound that inhibits this conversion and demonstrated that this inhibitor arrests beetle development. We discussed the use of this inhibitor in a control program aimed a the small hive beetle. The information from this research will be used by industry, government and university scientists in developing environmentally safe compounds to control this new pest.

Technical Abstract: The small hive beetle Aethina tumida Murray is a newly introduced pest of honey bee colonies and stored honey. Hive beetle tissue sterols and dietary (pollen:honey) sterols were identified by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry and indicated that A. tumida is capable of converting dietary phytosterols to cholesterol. The inclusion of the 24-sterol reductase inhibitor N,N-dimethyldodecanamine into diet prevented or arrested larval development. Sterol analyses of larvae reared on diet containing this inhibitor showed reduced levels of cholesterol along with a buildup of desmosterol (24-dehydrocholesterol), indicative of insects reared on diets containing sterol inhibitors. Sterol metabolism and utilization in Coleoptera is discussed, as is the feasibility of utilizing inhibitors of sterol metabolism in a small hive beetle control program.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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