Location: Chemistry Research Unit
Title: Semiochemical based attraction of small hive beetle: a window into evolution and invasive biology Authors
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 14, 2013
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Insect behavioral preferences are tied to individual experience and evolutionary history. The Small hive beetle, Aethina tumida, is seemingly an anomaly among Nitidulids because it thrives in honey bee hives feeding on pollen and bee brood. We discovered that attraction to bee hives is mediated by the Honeybee alarm pheromone ant that once established the beetle inoculates pollen with a gut borne yeast which when fermenting in pollen releases the same bee alarm pheromones thus attracting more beetles. Additionally, we have discovered that the beetles are attracted to and reproduce on ripe tropical fruit that release these same chemicals. The commonality among attractive volatiles between hosts, along with reproductive success on fruit indicate that the attractive preferences of the small hive beetle do indeed represent an evolutionary link in a poorly resolved clade.