Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2003
Publication Date: 6/1/2003
Citation: Ellis, J.D., Delaplane, K.S., Hepburn, R., Elzen, P.J. 2003. Efficacy of modified hive entrances and a bottom screen device for controlling Aethina tumida (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) infestations in Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Apidae) colonies. Journal of Economic Entomology. 96(6):1647-1652. Interpretive Summary: The small hive beetle is a serious pest attacking bee colonies in the U.S. Beetles invade colonies through the hive entrance and via cracks in hive equipment. We found that by reducing the opening size by which beetles may invade colonies, that beetle numbers were significantly reduced in such modified hives. Because the modification of hive entrance area is something the average beekeeper can do, the results of this study are directly usable by beekeepers in states that are heavily infested with the small hive beetle.
Technical Abstract: The present study was designed to test if polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe entrances would render efficacious Aethina tumida Murray control in Apis mellifera colonies and if screen-mesh bottom boards would alleviate side effects associated with restricting colony entrances. Colonies with 3.8-cm pipe entrances had significantly smaller A. tumida populations than control colonies in apiary 1 or colonies with 1.9-cm pipe entrances in apiary 2. Pipe entrances tended to reduce colony production and brood production in both apiaries (significantly so in apiary 2), but these losses were partially mitigated with the addition of screened bottom boards. Adult A. mellifera were heavier in colonies with screened bottom boards than in colonies with coventional ones. Pipe entrances had no measurable liability concerning colony thermoregulation. The percentage of A. tumida female was not affected by entrance or bottom board type. Frames of adult A. mellifera were affected by screen and entrance, with more A. mellifera in colonies with screens and significantly fewer A. mellifera in colonies with 3.8-cm or 1.9-cm pipe entrances compared to open entrances. There were significantly more frames of pollen in colonies with open or 3.8-cm pipe entrances than 1.9-cm entrances. The change in Varroa destructor levels was unaffected by entrance or bottom board type. We conclude that reduced hive entrances (with 3.8-cm pipe) can play a positive role in the integrated control of A. tumida if used in conjunction with screened bottom boards.