Submitted to: Apidologie
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/17/2005
Publication Date: 9/13/2005
Citation: Torto, B., Suazo, A., Alborn, H., Tumlinson, J.H., Teal, P.E. 2005. Response of the small hive beetle (Athina tumida) to a blend of chemicals identified from honeybee (Apis mellifera) volatiles. Apidologie. 36:523-532. Interpretive Summary: The small hive beetle is an invasive and highly destructive pest of honey bees in the United States. The beetle was introduced into south Florida in the late 1990s and has spread rapidly throughout the eastern half of the country. Damage from the beetle occurs within the hive where larvae feed on honey, pollen and bee larvae and honey fed on by the beetle ferments making it unfit for human consumption. Once attacked, honey bee hives tend to collapse within two weeks and the bees abscond. No products are registered control of the beetle and there is no effective way to monitor beetle infestation and movement. Scientists from the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, USDA-ARS, the University of Florida and the Pennsylvania State University have been studying the reason why small hive beetles are attracted to honey bee hives. They have discovered that chemicals released by beetles and pollen are highly attractive to the beetle and that these chemicals can be used in traps to capture the beetle.
Technical Abstract: We investigated the chemistry, electrophysiology and laboratory wind-tunnel responses of the small hive beetle to a blend of compounds identified from the volatiles of worker honeybees and pollen. The compounds identified were similar for worker honeybees and pollen volatiles. In wind-tunnel bioassays, a blend comprised of eleven compounds, derived from worker honeybee alarm pheromones and fermentation-related products was found to be attractive to the beetles.