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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Tracking An Invasive Honey Bee Pest: mitochondrial DNA Variation in Small Hive Beetles from North America

item Evans, Jay
item Pettis, Jeffery
item Hood, Michael - CLEMSON UNIVERSITY
item Shimanuki, Hachiro - RETIRED USDA ARS PSI BRL

Submitted to: Apidologie
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 23, 2002
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Small hive beetles are the most recent honey bee pests to arrive in the United States. These beetles which feed on pollen and honey were first found in the U.S. in 1996 and had spread throughout the southeastern states by 1999. The goal of this research was to determine the source of hive beetles arriving in the U.S. Genetic data indicate two separate introductions of hive beetles from southern Africa into the U.S. Government and University scientists can use this information to track the future spread of this pest within the U.S. and to identify any future introductions at their source.

Technical Abstract: Small hive beetles Aethina tumida Murray were first collected from honey bee colonies in the United States in 1996. As of 2000 hive beetles had spread to at least 16 states causing colony losses throughout the southeastern U.S. We describe the current and past distributions of two haplotype variants of the hive beetle in North America. A collection of 539 hive beetles showed irregular distributions of these two haplotypes across the southeastern U.S. Beetles from the first collections made in South Carolina showed a high frequency of haplotype NA1 a haplotype that is generally rare in Florida Georgia and North Carolina. Current collections from South Carolina are more similar to the other states. The body size of beetles was not correlated with haplotype suggesting that differences in haplotype frequency do not reflect selection pressures on covarying differences in the genomes of these beetles. We discuss the implications for inferring the number of separate hive beetle introductions to the U.S. and for estimating the migration dynamics by hive beetles as they expand their range in the New World.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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