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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: CHEMICAL BIOLOGY OF INSECT AND PLANT SIGNALING SYSTEMS

Location: Chemistry Research Unit

Title: Occurrence, diversity and pattern of damage of Oplostomus species (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae), honey bee pests in Kenya

Authors
item Fombong, Ayuka -
item Mumoki, Fiona -
item Muli, Elliud -
item Masiga, Daniel -
item Arbogast, Richard
item Teal, Peter
item Torto, Baldwin -

Submitted to: Apidologie
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 31, 2012
Publication Date: June 27, 2012
Repository URL: http://www.springerlink.com/content/x5651213vtv53858/
Citation: Fombong, A.T., Mumoki, F.N., Muli, E., Masiga, D.K., Arbogast, R.T., Teal, P.E., Torto, B. 2012. Occurrence, diversity and pattern of damage of Oplostomus species (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae), honey bee pests in Kenya. Apidologie. DOI: 10.1007/s13592-012-0149-6.

Interpretive Summary: Invasive pests pose serious issues to US agriculture. For example, the two most destructive pests of the honeybee industry, the small hive beetle and Varroa mite are invaders from different continents. It is critical to know what pests could invade from different lands and what damage they could inflict on US agriculture. In order to aid in this undertaking scientists at the International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi Kenya and the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, USDA-ARS in Gainesville Florida have been studying pests of honeybee hives in Africa to determine if they could pose a potential threat to the apiculture industry in the US. They have recently identified two new species of beetles that attack beehives in East Africa. They identified Oplostomus haroldi and the close relative O. fuligineus as important invaders of Kenyan bee colonies and showed from analysis of feeding behavioural patterns that the two scarab species damaged honey bee combs similarly causing the most damage on brood through feeding; O. haroldi (80%), with O. fuligineus (100%). Knowing these beetles attack beehives paves the way to develop new approaches to monitor and control the pests.

Technical Abstract: Several arthropod pests including the hive beetles Aethina tumida and Oplostomus haroldi and the ectoparasite Varroa destructor have recently been identified as associated with honey bee colonies in Kenya. Here, we report the first documentation of O. fuligineus in Kenya, a related scarab of O. haroldi, and distribution, diversity and pattern of damage of the two scarab species on honey bee colonies. Sequence analyses of mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I gene revealed that there was sufficient sequence divergence to separate both Oplostomus beetles. The same molecular marker separated O. haroldi according to place of origin in Kenya. We further show from analysis of feeding behavioural patterns that the two scarab species damaged honey bee combs similarly causing the most damage on brood through feeding; O. haroldi (80%), with O. fuligineus (100%). We discuss our results in relation to the threats these scarabs may pose to bee health in Kenya.

Last Modified: 4/18/2014