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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Multitrophic interactions between insects, fungi and plants: Using naturally produced chemicals to solve an invasive species problem

Authors
item TEAL, PETER
item Torto, Baldwyn - ICIPE, NAIROBI, KENYA
item ARBOGAST, RICHARD
item Tumlinson, James - ENT DEPT, PENN STATE
item ALBORN, HANS
item Boucias, Drion - ENT DEPT, UNIV FLA

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 30, 2007
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: The beekeeping industry is critical to many agricultural crops. Recently, an invasive pest, the Small Hive Beetle, was introduced into North America. Beetles invade hives feed on pollen, bee brood, and ruin honey. Thus, the beetle has had a dramatic effect on the $14 billion/year apiculture and pollination industries in the US. We discovered that the beetles are attracted to honeybee alarm pheromones. We also isolated a yeast vectored by the beetles which, when grown on bee collected pollen, produces the bee alarm pheromones. European bees, being responsive to alarm pheromones and less aggressive in repelling intruders than the original host of the beetle, African honeybees, fail to recognize the beetle invasion until it is too late to avoid colony collapse. Using this knowledge we have developed effective monitoring and control programs for the beetle using traps baited with the yeast which produces the attractants. This provides the first demonstration of the use of multitrophic level semiochemical communication in insects to control invasive species.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014