Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Managing Diseases and Pests of Honey Bees to Improve Queen and Colony Health

Location: Bee Research

Title: Chasing your honey: Worldwide diaspora of the small hive beetle, a parasite of honey bee colonies

Authors
item Lounsberry, Zachary
item Spiewok, Sebastian -
item Pernal, Stephan -
item Sonstegard, Tad
item Hood, Michael -
item Pettis, Jeffery
item Neumann, Peter -
item Evans, Jay

Submitted to: Annals of the Entomological Society of America
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 10, 2010
Publication Date: August 1, 2010
Citation: Lounsberry, Z.T., Spiewok, S., Pernal, S., Sonstegard, T.S., Hood, M.W., Pettis, J.S., Neumann, P., Evans, J.D. 2010. Chasing your honey: Worldwide diaspora of the small hive beetle, a parasite of honey bee colonies. Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 104:671-677.

Interpretive Summary: Small hive beetles are a local pest in beeyards throughout much of the southern United States, and are especially troublesome for the United States queen-rearing industry. Also, these beetles are a growing pest in Australian honey bee populations, and are a major determinant of inter-country regulations on bee movement. Determining the sources of unintended introductions of small hive beetles can identify risk points for new invasions and can help in studies of the habitat and biology of beetles in their native range. Our genetic analyses of current and source populations of hive beetles reveal likely routes of entry and high rates of movement of beetles once they have arrived in new bee populations. This information can now be used by scientists and regulators hoping to stop the spread of, and damage from, small hive beetles.

Technical Abstract: Endemic to sub-Saharan Africa, small hive beetles (Aethina tumida) are now an invasive pest of honey bee colonies in Australia and North America. Knowledge on the introduction(s) from Africa into and between the current ranges will shed light on pest populations, invasion pathways and contribute to knowledge of how a parasite expands in new populations. Here we examined genetic variation in adult beetle samples from the United States, Australia, Canada, and sub-Saharan Africa by sequencing a 912-base pair region of the mitochondrial DNA CO1 gene and screening ten informative microsatellite loci. One Canadian introduction of small hive beetles can be traced to Australia while the second one appears to have come from the United States. Beetles now resident in Australia were of a different African origin than were beetles in North America. North American beetles did not show covariance between two mitochondrial haplotypes and their microsatellite frequencies, suggesting that these beetles have a shared source despite having initial genetic structure within their introduced range. Excellent dispersal of beetles, probably aided by migratory beekeeping, appears to lead to panmixis in both native and introduced populations.

Last Modified: 8/21/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page