Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/14/2011
Publication Date: 6/1/2011
Citation: Meikle, W.G., Patt, J.M. 2011. The effects of temperature, diet, and other factors on development, survivorship, and oviposition of Aethina tumida (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae). Journal of Economic Entomology. 104(3):753-763.
Interpretive Summary: We conducted experiments on the growth and survival rates of eggs, larvae and pupae of the small hive beetle at different temperatures and with different kinds of diets. We found that temperature was very important in determining how long eggs took to hatch and how long pupae took until they emerged as adults. Both eggs and pupae can develop at temperatures as low as 21ºC and, based on our results, we think they can develop at lower temperatures, possibly as low as 10-13ºC. These beetles need some sort of soil or material in which to pupate, and they will not pupate without such material. We found that larvae were not particular about what they ate, and their diet did not seem to affect how long they took to develop, how big they got or whether they survived. Temperature played a bigger role than diet in larval development. Larvae who were fed only bee brood (bee larvae and pupae) did not do very well, which suggests that these beetles are more of a threat to bee food stores than to the bees themselves, at least for larger colonies.
Technical Abstract: Developmental rate and survivorship of the small hive beetle, Aethina tumida Murray (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae), life stages were measured across different temperatures (21, 25, 28, 32 and 35ºC) and diets, which included natural and artiÞcial pollen, honey, and bee pupae. Temperature affected hatch success, time to hatching, and larval growth. Eggs hatched in 61 h at 21ºC but in <22 h at 35ºC. Larvae achieved peak weight in <8 d at 35ºC but needed 17 d at 21ºC. Diet had comparatively little effect on larval survivorship or maximum weight, although larvae fed only bee pupae had lower survivorship. Access to soil influenced pupation success. Duration of the life stage spent in the soil, during which pupation occurs, was also affected by temperature: adults emerged after 32.7 d at 21ºC but after only 14.8 d at 35ºC, albeit with high mortality. Minimum temperature for development was estimated at 13.5ºC for eggs, and 10.0ºC for larvae and pupae. Temperature influenced adult longevity and oviposition: on a honey and pollen diet average adult lifespan was 92.8 d at 24ºC but only 11.6 d at 35ºC. Beetles lived longer at 28ºC or lower but produced the most eggs per female, regardless of diet, at 32ºC. Beetle density influenced fecundity: beetles kept at three pairs per vial laid 6.7 times more eggs per female than those kept as single pairs. Overall, beetles fared best at 28-32ºC with mortality of all stages highest at 35ºC.