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Title: Factors affecting pupation success of the Small Hive Beetle, Aethina tumida Murray

item Meikle, William
item Diaz, Ruth

Submitted to: Journal of Insect Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/23/2012
Publication Date: 10/10/2012
Citation: Meikle, W.G., Diaz, R. 2012. Factors affecting pupation success of the Small Hive Beetle, Aethina tumida. Journal of Insect Science. 12:118.

Interpretive Summary: This paper concerns two kinds of experiments: (1) an experiment in which we recorded how long larvae might survive after they have finished eating and growing but have no place to pupate; and (2) a series of experiments to determine the minimum depth of soil needed for successful pupation. For the first experiment, larvae were fed different diets and then kept in their experimental vials and monitored until all were dead. We found that larvae fed pollen, whether or not it was mixed with anything else, lived far longer than larvae fed only bee brood (bee pupae), which could live on average of up to 7 weeks. This means the larvae can survive a long time to find a place to pupate. The experiments on soil depth showed that larvae need at least 1.0 cm of soil to pupate, and do much better if given soil at least 4 to 8 cm deep. This information might be useful in designing ways to control small hive beetle by trapping the larvae as they come out to pupate.

Technical Abstract: Survivorship of larvae of the small hive beetle, Aethina tumida, was measured after larvae were raised on one of six diets, and pupation success was measured by exposing mature larvae to one of six soil depths and maintaining temperatures at either 28°, 32°, or 35° C. Diet influenced larval survivorship but did not have a strong effect on larval weight. Larvae denied pupation substrate and fed only honey and pollen, and no other food or water after 20 d, had a median survivorship of 47.6 d, with a maximum of 61 d, while those fed only brood had a median survivorship of only 18.2 d. Pupation substrate was essential for successful pupation. While most or all larvae kept in 4-8 cm of soil pupated in all experiments and at all temperatures, few larvae pupated at 2 cm soil depth and one (out of 240) pupated at 1.0 cm and none at soil depths of 0 or 0.5 cm soil depth.