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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: An effective trap and bait combination for monitoring the small hive beetle, Aethina tumida (Coleoptera:Nitidulidae)

item Arbogast, Richard
item Torto, Baldwyn
item Van Engelsdorp, Dennis
item Teal, Peter

Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/30/2007
Publication Date: 6/1/2007
Citation: Arbogast, R.T., Torto, B., Van Engelsdorp, D., Teal, P.E. 2007. An effective trap and bait combination for monitoring the small hive beetle, Aethina tumida (Coleoptera:Nitidulidae). Florida Entomologist. 90(2):404-406.

Interpretive Summary: The small hive beetle is native of Africa where it is considered a minor pest of honey bees, and until recently it was thought to be limited to that continent. However, it was detected in Florida in 1998 and by 2004, it had spread to 30 states. It now poses a major threat to the beekeeping industry of the United States. The beetle enters bee hives where it lays eggs and multiplies rapidly, feeding on pollen, honey and bee brood. It contaminates honey, causing it to ferment, and eventually destroys the hive. ARS scientists at the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, Florida, have developed methods for trapping adult beetles, including an effective trap and bait combination for monitoring the movements and numbers of flying beetles. Monitoring is a necessary component of control measures needed to manage this pest and mitigate the damage it causes. These measures will be widely used by beekeepers in the United States and are eagerly awaited.

Technical Abstract: The small hive beetle (SHB), Aethina tumida Murray (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae), is a pest of European honeybees Apis mellifera mellifera (L.) in the United States. This paper reports field tests of an effective trap and bait combination for monitoring flying SHB. The bait consisted of pollen dough (a mixture of pollen and honey) conditioned by allowing male SHB to feed on it for 3 days, and its attractiveness was tested by trapping at two beeyards in north-central Florida and seven in Pennsylvania, all with previous histories of SHB infestation. Each trap consisted of a piece of black PVC pipe (7.5 cm ID x 25.5 cm long) closed at each end by a removable cap. Two openings (8 x 13 cm) covered with 4-mesh screen allowed entry of SHB, but not honey bees. An inverted screen cone with a small hole at its apex allowed beetles to enter but not leave the bottom cap, which contained the bait and vials of water with dental wicks to keep the dough moist. Baited traps captured SHB at all beeyards, but unbaited control traps captured none. The difference between control and baited traps clearly establishes the effectiveness of conditioned pollen dough in attracting flying SHB. However, because of a marked preference for shade, baited traps placed in full sunshine captured very few beetles.

Last Modified: 07/21/2017
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