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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: A DNA method for screening hive debris for the presence of small hive beetle (Aethina tumida)

item Ward, Lisa
item Brown, Mike
item Neumann, Peter
item Wilkins, Selwyn
item Pettis, Jeffery
item Neil, Boonham

Submitted to: Apidologie
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/23/2006
Publication Date: 3/7/2007
Citation: Ward, L., Brown, M., Neumann, P., Wilkins, S., Pettis, J.S., Neil, B. 2007. A dna method for screening hive debris for the presence of small hive beetle (aethina tumida). Apidologie. 38:272-280.

Interpretive Summary: Honey bee colonies provide a tempting food resource of honey, pollen and young bees to a variety of pests and pathogens. These intruders can disrupt the bee colony as they try to gain access to the food within the hive. One such intruder is the small hive beetle (SHB), a pest previously only known from Africa but recently introduced into North America and Australia. Small hive beetles feed on pollen and young bees and can cause bees to abandon the hive. We currently have no reliable methods to detect this pest. We have developed a molecular technique to screen hive debris, collected by placing a board on the bottom of a bee hive, for the presence of SHB. This new method is fast and reliable and can be used to survey in areas where small hive beetles are suspected. Having a reliable SHB detection method is a valuable tool for bee inspectors and border agents around the world.

Technical Abstract: The small hive beetle (SHB) is a parasite and scavenger of honey bee colonies. It has recently become an invasive species creating the need for an efficient and reliable detection method. We present a method to screen hive debris for the presence of SHB using real-time PCR in conjunction with an automated DNA extraction protocol. The method was able to detect DNA from SHB eggs, larvae and adult specimens collected from Africa, Australia and North America. The method was used to successfully detect SHB DNA extracted from spiked and naturally infested debris. An Apis mellifera 18S rRNA real-time PCR assay was used as an internal positive control (IPC). The IPC showed that the method was reliable for detection as extraction efficiency was consistent between hive debris samples. If the SHB were to establish at new locations, the availability of such a method would be a valuable support tool to enable species identification and rapid screening of hive debris for delimiting surveys.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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