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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Field Control and Biology Studies of a New Pest Species, Aethina Tumida Murray, Attacking European Honey Bees in the Western Hemisphere

item Elzen, Patti
item Baxter, James
item Westervelt, Dave - FLORIDA DEPT. OF AGRIC.
item Randall, Charlotte - RANDALL'S WAX WORKS
item Delaplane, Keith - DEPT. ENTOMOL. - GEORGIA
item Cutts, Laurence - FLORIDA DEPT. AGRIC.
item Eischen, Frank
item Wilson, William

Submitted to: Apidologie
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 6, 1999
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: A new pest, the small hive beetle, has recently been discovered attacking honey bee hives in the Western Hemisphere. We estimate that at least 1,000 hives in Florida have been destroyed by this pest, with more devastation likely. In studies in Florida and Georgia, we found that the insecticide, coumaphos, when stapled under cardboard onto the hive bottom board, was very effective in trapping and killing adult and immature forms of the beetle. In studying the biology of the small hive beetle, we found that adults completely consumed bee eggs, even in the presence of honey and pollen. We additionally found that adult beetles were attracted to the odors of hive products (honey and pollen) plus adult bees. These results are important to commercial beekeepers in order to protect their hives with control measures described above and to provide information on the behavior of beetles that may be used in devising further control strategies.

Technical Abstract: The small hive beetle, Aethina tumida Murray, is a new nitidulid pest attacking honey bee colonies in the Western Hemisphere. Adult A. tumida were officially recorded in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina in 1998. We initiated field and laboratory studies to investigate the control and biology of this new pest. Field tests showed that up to 90.2% control of beetles on the hive bottom using 10% coumaphos impregnate in plastic and stapled under cardboard. The coumaphos-baited traps also effectively killed up to 94.2% of wandering larvae. In a laboratory test investigating beetle feeding on brood, adults were found to apparently consume all bee eggs provided within 24 hours, even though an excess of honey and pollen were provided. In field trials of attractancy of hive odors to flying adult beetles, the combined odors of hive products plus adult bees were found to be the most attractive; hive products alone and adult bees alone were not significantly attractive. Further research on biological control and aggregation pheromones is proposed.

Last Modified: 4/20/2015
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