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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Breeding, Genetics, Stock Improvement and Management of Russian Honey Bees for Mite and Small Hive Beetle Control and Pollination

Location: Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Research

Title: Seasonal Population Dynamics of Small Hive Beetles, Aethina Tumida Murray, in the Southeastern United States

Authors
item De Guzman, Lilia
item Frake, Amanda
item Rinderer, Thomas

Submitted to: Journal of Apicultural Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 22, 2010
Publication Date: February 1, 2010
Citation: De Guzman, L.I., Frake, A.M., Rinderer, T.E. 2010. Seasonal Population Dynamics of Small Hive Beetles, Aethina Tumida Murray, in the Southeastern United States. Journal of Apicultural Research. 49(2):186-191.

Interpretive Summary: Small hive beetles (SHB) are more abundant in warmer than cooler regions of the United States. However, seasonal population fluctuations of SHB have not been established especially in the southeastern United States where damages to honey bee colonies caused by these beetles are usually observed. This three-year study was conducted to monitor SHB growth and determine seasonal population dynamics in Italian and Russian honey bee colonies. Russian honey bee colonies had fewer beetles than in the Italian honey bee colonies only in the apiary where more beetles were observed. Our results also showed that adult beetles were found throughout the year with peak infestations observed in the autumn (September and November). The proportion of hot days was found to be the only climatic factor that seemed to contribute in the significant increase of adult SHB infesting honey bee colonies. Our results suggest that in-hive trapping of SHB in autumn may reduce the number of beetles that can potentially infest honey bee colonies in spring.

Technical Abstract: The population of the small hive beetle (SHB) was monitored from 2005 to 2008 in colonies of Italian and Russian honey bees located near St. Gabriel, Louisiana. SHB populations differed between honey bee stocks (only in site 2) with Italian honey bee colonies supporting more beetles (7.45 ± 0.98 beetles per colony) than the Russian honey bee colonies (4.48 ± 0.51 beetles per colony). No difference between the two stocks was observed in site 1 where the beetle population was generally low (Italian = 2.73 ± 0.36 beetles, Russian = 2.69 ± 0.57 beetles per colony). Our results also revealed that SHB populations varied throughout the year with peak infestations observed in the autumn (September and November). Abundance of SHB was significantly correlated with the proportion of hot days but not with the proportions of cool, dry, or humid days, or the percentage of days with rainfall. Our results suggest that in-hive autumn trapping of SHB in the southeastern United States may reduce springtime numbers of beetles.

Last Modified: 12/18/2014
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