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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: A simple method for quantitative diagnosis of small hive beetles, Aethina tumida, in the field

Authors
item Schafer, Marc - CVUA INST. GERMANY
item Pettis, Jeffery
item Ritter, Wolfganf - CVUA INST. GERMANY
item Neumann, Peter - SWISS BEE RSRCH, SWITZRLN

Submitted to: Apidologie
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 27, 2008
Publication Date: October 28, 2008
Citation: Schafer, M., Pettis, J.S., Ritter, W., Neumann, P. 2008. A simple method for quantitative diagnosis of small hive beetles, Aethina tumida, in the field. Apidologie. 39:564-565.

Interpretive Summary: Small hive beetles are a recently introduced pest of honey bee colonies in the U. S. that can cause colony losses when beetle populations get too high. We currently have no reliable means of measuring adult beetle populations within bee hives. Here we present a simple and fast method for quantitative diagnosis of small hive beetles in honeybee field colonies using corrugated plastic “diagnostic- strips”. The diagnostic strips were introduced on the bottom boards via the flight entrance and after two nights, the strips were removed and the beetles counted. The traps were 70% predictive of the total number of beetles within the colony and provide beekeepers with a simple and less labor intensive estimate of colony beetle infestation levels. This information will be used by beekeepers and regulatory personnel to monitor beetle populations and make management decisions.

Technical Abstract: Here we present a simple and fast method for quantitative diagnosis of small hive beetles (= SHB) in honeybee field colonies using corrugated plastic “diagnostic-strips”. In Australia, we evaluated its efficacy by comparing the number of lured SHB with the total number of beetles in the hives. The diagnostic strips were introduced on the bottom boards via the flight entrance. After two nights, the strips were removed and the lured SHB quantified. Then, the colonies (N = 54) were completely and thoroughly screened for SHB. Despite the high variance in efficacy (35.4 + 20.6%), the number of SHB in the traps strongly correlates with the total numbers of beetles in the hive (rs = 0.70; p < 0.01). Our method provides a simple and less labor intensive estimate of colony infestation levels with SHB, which appears especially useful for large scale beekeeping operations in regions with high SHB population levels.

Last Modified: 11/27/2014
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