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Title: Marking small hive beetles with thoracic notching: Effects on longevity, flight ability and fecundity.

item De Guzman, Lilia
item Frake, Amanda
item Rinderer, Thomas

Submitted to: Apidologie
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/18/2011
Publication Date: 11/2/2011
Citation: De Guzman, L.I., Frake, A.M., Rinderer, T.E. 2011. Marking small hive beetles with thoracic notching: Effects on longevity, flight ability and fecundity.. Apidologie. 42(1):1-10.

Interpretive Summary: This study compared the effectiveness of dusting and thoracic notching for marking adult small hive beetles (SHB). Blue (52.6 ± 23.8 days) and red (13.9 ± 7.3 days) chalk dusts resulted in early SHB mortality. Notched beetles, whether injured (193.6 ± 38.8 days) or not (353.6 ± 5.3 days), survived much longer. Notching also resulted in high rates of recovery both in nucleus colonies and in pole traps suggesting that notching did not interfere with the beetles’ flight activities. However, notching may have promoted short-term egg-laying by female beetles. Thoracic notching is a permanent mark, thus it can be used in many types of ecological studies.

Technical Abstract: We tested two marking techniques for adult small hive beetles (SHB): dusting and thoracic notching. The use of blue and red chalk dusts to mark beetles was not persistent and caused early death of SHB with an average survival of 52.6 ± 23.8 and 13.9 ± 7.3 days, respectively. In contrast, notched beetles survived longer (mean = 353.6 ± 5.3 days) with the last beetle dying after 383 days. Likewise, notched beetles (presumed to be injured because of oozing hemolymph from the notched area) also lived long with an average of 193.6 ± 38.8 days. Notching also resulted in a high rate of recovery; 81% in nucleus colonies and 66% in pole traps. These high recovery rates confirmed that notching did not interfere with the beetles’ ability to fly. However, it appeared that notched females laid more eggs than those that were not notched both with multiple (171.70 ± 11.20 vs 126.87 ± 10.27 eggs per day ) and single (70.02 ± 5.45 vs 57.97 ± 5.12 eggs per day) pairs for a period of 1-3 days. Whether or not notching affects lifetime fecundity of females was not assessed in this study. Nevertheless, notching is a permanent mark for SHB and thus, may be useful in many ecological studies or in studying the efficacy of lures and traps for SHB control.