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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Managing Diseases and Pests of Honey Bees to Improve Queen and Colony Health

Location: Bee Research Laboratory

Title: Organic acids and thymol: unsuitable alternative control of Aethina tumida Murray (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae)

item Buchholz, Sven
item Merkel, Katharina
item Spiewok, Sebastian
item Imdorf, Anton
item Pettis, Jeffery
item Westervelt, David
item Ritter, Wolfgang
item Duncan, Michael
item Rosenkranz, Peter
item Spooner-hart, Robert
item Neumann, Peter

Submitted to: Apidologie
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/23/2010
Publication Date: 7/10/2010
Citation: Buchholz, S., Merkel, K., Spiewok, S., Imdorf, A., Pettis, J.S., Westervelt, D., Ritter, W., Duncan, M., Rosenkranz, P., Spooner-Hart, R., Neumann, P. 2010. Organic acids and thymol: Unsuitable alternative control of aethina tumida murray (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae). Apidologie. 42:349-363.

Interpretive Summary: Honey bees are important pollinators and provide income in terms of honey and wax production for beekeepers worldwide. Honey bees are threatened by many pests; one such pest is the recently introduced beetle from Africa called the small hive beetle. New control methods are needed for this pest. To explore alternative small hive beetle control strategies, established mite control products commonly used by beekeepers were tried against small hive beetles. Some beekeepers believe that they are controlling both mites and beetles with the same treatments. Treatments included thymol based products and formic and oxalic acid treatments. Lab results were promising and adult beetles were either killed or failed to lay eggs. However, when whole beetle-infested colonies were treated no beetle control was demonstrated. None of the tested methods can be recommended to control small hive beetles but this information is useful in that these treatments are being used by beekeepers to control mites and thus they need to look to other methods to control beetles.

Technical Abstract: To explore alternative small hive beetle control strategies, established Varroa destructor and Galleria mellonella treatments with organic acids (formic, lactic, oxalic and acetic) and thymol were investigated in the laboratory against eggs, larvae and adult small hive beetle (SHB). As formic and oxalic acid treatments resulted in high mortalities, they were further evaluated in field trials with standard methods used against V. destructor. With Nassenheider (formic acid) and Varrox® (oxalic acid) evaporators no significantly increased mortalities were achieved. The same was true for trials with diagnostic trays (formic acid), where adults used these devices as hiding places and oviposition sites. Furthermore, SHB reproduced on extracted honey combs with pollen remains, despite acetic acid treatment. In conclusion, none of the tested methods can be recommended to control Aethina tumida.

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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