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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The influence of light on small hive beetle (Aethina tumida) behavior and trap capture

item Duehl, Adrian
item Arbogast, Richard
item Sheridan, Audrey
item Teal, Peter

Submitted to: Apidologie
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/17/2011
Publication Date: 7/10/2012
Citation: Duehl, A.J., Arbogast, R.T., Sheridan, A.B., Teal, P.E. 2012. The influence of light on small hive beetle (Aethina tumida) behavior and trap capture. Apidologie. 43(4)417-424.

Interpretive Summary: Small hive beetles are an important pest of bee hives and honey processing facilities in the Southeastern United States. They are particularly problematic when they decrease the success of queen rearing operations and lower the value of honey in processing facilities. The adults move between hosts but the larvae cause damage to equipment and eventually cause colonies to abscond. Scientists at the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, ARS, USDA in Gainesville, FL, are developing integrated pest management tools to better control small hive beetle populations. By adding light emitting diodes (LEDs) to current traps and developing new traps to hold LEDs we were able to make the traps more effective. Out lab trials indicate that the improved traps can bring about 10 and 20 fold increases in trap capture of adults and larvae respectively. These traps will enable better research through more sensitive sampling and help stakeholders improve their honey and hive yields through better pest control.

Technical Abstract: The small hive beetle (Aethina tumida, Murray) is a major pest of honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies, particularly in the Southeastern United States. We evaluated the small hive beetleā€™s (SHB) response to different wavelengths of the light spectrum and found that SHB larvae and adults were most attracted to the 390nm wavelength. Early instar larvae were not significantly attracted to light, while wandering larvae and adults exhibited strong positive phototaxis. The light response of the non-feeding larval stage indicates readiness to leave a hive and search for pupation locations. Laboratory competitive trapping trials showed that light increased trap catches more than 10 fold for adults and 20 fold for larvae compared to traps without light. Trap efficiency for larvae in dark sheds was 73%. Field trials demonstrated different features of photo-attraction; at field sites hanging traps with LEDs incorporated into the capture area did not capture more adults than unlit traps. Light traps in enclosed spaces effectively trapped both adults and larvae. Light shows promise for beetle control in locations where comb is stored or honey extracted.

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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