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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: A scientific note on the comparison of airborne volatiles produced by commercial bumble bee (Bombus impatiens) and honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies

Authors
item Graham, Jason -
item Carroll, Mark
item Teal, Peter
item Ellis, James -

Submitted to: Apidologie
Publication Type: Research Notes
Publication Acceptance Date: July 19, 2012
Publication Date: August 2, 2012
Citation: Graham, J.R., Carroll, M.J., Teal, P.E., Ellis, J.D. 2012. A scientific note on the comparison of airborne volatiles produced by commercial bumble bee (Bombus impatiens) and honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies. Apidologie. 44:110-112.

Interpretive Summary: The small hive beetle is an invasive pest of honeybees in the US and is responsible for significant losses. Until recently, the pest has been thought to only reside in honey bee colonies. However, recent reports have documented that the beetle will reside in commercial bumble bee colonies. Because the beetle uses odors to find both honeybee and Bumble bee colonies scientists from the Entomology and Nematology Department at the University of Florida and the Chemistry Research Unit of the Cneter for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, USDA-ARS. Collected, analyzed chemically and compared the chemicals released from both bumble bee and honey bee colonies. Althought they identified 146 chemicals only 5 were common to both species of bees.

Technical Abstract: Small hive beetles have been documented as being able to successfully invade commercial bumble bee colonies and find the hives through odors produced by the colonies. We tested the hypothesis that volatiles emanating from Bumble bee and Honeybee colonies were similar by collecting volatiles from workers, brood and hive material as well as from whole colonies and analyzing the volatiles using GC-mass spectroscopy. From these analyses we identified only five compounds common to volatiles from both species. These included 2-heptanone, limonene, 2-nonanone, nonanal and 2-phenoxy-2-propanol.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014
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