Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/31/2011
Publication Date: 4/1/2011
Citation: De Guzman, L.I., Frake, A.M., Rinderer, T.E., Arbogast, R.T. 2011. Effect of height and color on the efficiency of the small hive beetle (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) pole traps. Journal of Economic Entomology. 104(1):26-31. Interpretive Summary: The host-finding capability of small hive beetles (SHB) is generally guided by the smell of brood, pollen, honey and adult bees, which serve as their main food. Whether or not SHB responds to other stimuli such as color has not been studied. In this study, we compared adult SHBs response to black and white pole traps baited with fermented pollen dough. We also determined if the height of traps can improve capture rates. Our results showed that both color and trap height significantly influenced the number of beetles that were captured. The white traps captured more beetles than the black traps probably because white is more reflective than black. When traps were hung at 46 cm (the same height as the entrance of the hives), more beetles were captured than at 1 m or 3 m high. Both male and female SHBs responded similarly to color and height of the traps. Nevertheless, capture rates seemed generally low in relationship to the number of beetles present in the apiary. Thus, substantial improvements to the trap may be necessary.
Technical Abstract: Olfactory cues released by adult bees, brood, pollen and honey from a honey bee colony are the primary stimuli that guide the small hive beetle (SHB, Aethina tumida Murray) to host colonies. To investigate the response of adult SHB to visual stimuli, we tested the influence of color and height on trap efficiency. Two pole trap colors (black and white) were evaluated at three heights (46 cm, 1 m and 3 m) from October 2008 to December 2009. SHB were trapped in the greatest numbers between April 17 and May 15, 2009. The lowest numbers were captured during the winter and fall months. The trapping results showed that both color and trap height significantly influenced capture. The average catch in the white traps (Mean = 2.47 ± 0.30) was significantly higher than that of the black traps (Mean = 1.53 ± 0.29) probably because white is more reflective than black. Among the heights evaluated, there were more beetles caught when traps were positioned at 46 cm (the same height as the entrance of the hives) with a mean of 3.07 ± 0.51 beetles compared to beetles captured at 1 m (Mean = 1.88 ± 0.30) or 3 m (Mean = 1.06 ± 0.18) high. Male and female beetles exhibited similar responses to trap color and height. The relationship between the numbers of beetles in colonies and capture rates in traps was very poor and did not provide a basis to evaluate trap efficiency. Additionally, since capture rates seemed generally low in relationship to the number of beetles in the apiary, substantial improvements to the trap may be necessary.