Voorhees College, Denmark, South Carolina, Junior, major: Biology
Mentor: Baldwyn Torto and Peter E.A. Teal
Composition and attractiveness of Bee-collected and Bee-processed pollen to the Small Hive Beetle
Abstract: The Small Hive Beetle (SHB), Aethina tumida, is a new invasive parasitic pest of European honeybee colonies in the United States. The beetle originated from South Africa, however, its first appearance in the US was in Florida in 1998. The Small Hive Beetle locates the honeybee hive by cueing in on alarm pheromones of worker bees. A fungus isolated from the Small Hive Beetle was grown on bee-collected and bee-processed pollen to monitor the efficacy of these substrates to produce these same alarm pheromones. The volatiles released were also compared for their attractiveness to the Small Hive Beetle in wind tunnel bioassays. Preliminary results showed significant differences in the amounts of alarm pheromone released and attractiveness to the volatiles produced by the different pollen sources. The volatiles of bee-collected pollen released higher amounts of alarm pheromone than those of the bee-processed pollen. Furthermore, the volatiles from bee- collected pollen were relatively more attractive to the beetle in the wind tunnel bioassay. Detailed experiments are in progress to confirm these results.
Danna preparing bee pollen for inoculation with a yeast isolated from the small hive bee, Aethina tumida.