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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Suazo, Alonso
item Torto, Baldwyn
item Teal, Peter
item Tumlinson Iii, James

Submitted to: Apidologie
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/20/2003
Publication Date: 5/20/2003
Citation: Suazo, A., Torto, B., Teal, P.E., Tumlinson III, J.H. 2003. Response of the small hive beetle (Aethina Tumida) to honey bee (Apis Mellifera) and beehive-produced volatiles. Apidologie. 34:525-533.

Interpretive Summary: The small hive beetle was introduced recently into the southern United States and has become a serious pest of commercial apiaries. Very little is known about the biology of this pest in the United States and there is essentially no practical method for monitoring population dynamics or spread of the insect. Scientists and the Center for Medical, Agricultural and veterinary Entomology, USDA-ARS, Gainesville, Florida have been studying the chemically mediated behavior and biology of the beetle. They have discovered that both sexes of beetles respond strongly to the volatile chemicals released by worker bees and freshly collected pollen but not to volatiles released by bee brood or from beeswax. The scientist have collected the volatile chemicals released from attractive sources and have successfully shown that artificial lures impregnated with the naturally produced chemicals are attractive to small hive beetles in wind tunnel bioassays. These results are an important step in developing synthetic lures for use in attracting beetles to traps used to monitor populations in the field and for development of control strategies based on chemical attractants.

Technical Abstract: The response of male and female Small Hive Beetle (SHB), Aethina tumida, to air-borne volatiles from adult worker bees, (Apis mellifera L.), pollen, unripe honey, beeswax, wax byproducts ("slumgum"), and bee brood, was investigated in olfactometric and flight-tunnel choice bioassays. In both bioassay systems, males and females responded strongly to the volatiles from worker bees, freshly collected pollen and slumgum but not to those from commercially available pollen, beeswax and bee brood. The response to pollen volatiles was dose dependent, while response to volatiles from worker bees increased with both the number and age of the bees. Females were more responsive than males to the different volatile sources, with greater response in tests with unripe honey. In flight-tunnel choice tests, Super Q-trapped volatiles from worker bees elicited a response comparable to the response to living workers, while trapped volatiles from other sources were not attractive.

Last Modified: 06/28/2017
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