Submitted to: Journal of Apicultural Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/16/2011
Publication Date: 6/5/2011
Citation: Graham, J.R., Ellis, J.D., Benda, N.D., Kurtzman, C.P., Boucias, D.G. 2011. Kodamaea ohmeri (Ascomycota: Saccharomycotina) presence in commercial Bombus impatiens Cresson and feral Bombus pensylvanicus DeGeer (Hymenoptera: Apidae) colonies. Journal of Apicultural Research. 50(3):218-226. Interpretive Summary: This study was aimed at determining the presence and the impact of the yeast Kodamaea ohmeri on attraction of the small hive beetle to colonies of commercial and feral bumble bees that are pollinators of crops. K. ohmeri attracts the small hive beetle to honey bee hives and is implicated in honey bee hive collapse. This study demonstrated that K. ohmeri is also present in commercial as well as feral bumble bee hives and is likely to be the attractant for the small hive beetle that also causes a decline of bumble bee hives.
Technical Abstract: In this study, eight commercial and three feral bumble bee (Bombus impatiens Cresson and Bombus pensylvanicus DeGeer respectively, Hymenoptera: Apidae) colonies were tested for the presence of Kodamaea ohmeri (Ascomycota: Saccharomycotina), a yeast known to attract small hive beetles (SHB) (Aethina tumida Murray, Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) to honey bee (Apis mellifera L., Hymenoptera: Apidae) colonies. Swabs of commercial bumble bee colonies and homogenates of bumble bee colony components (adults, brood, honey, pollen and wax) were plated on selective media. The resulting yeast isolates were compared to K. ohmeri previously isolated from SHB. Yeasts were detected in all of the commercial bumble bee colony swab samples (n = 56) and a selected subsample was shown through molecular, chemical, and microbiological evidence to be K. ohmeri. For the second part of the study, feral bumble bee colonies were excavated and evaluated for the presence of any SHB life stage (none was found). Adult bees and swabs from the colonies were plated on selective media. Kodamaea ohmeri was isolated in all samples collected from the feral bumble bee colonies. The presence of K. ohmeri in commercial and feral bumble bee colonies is of concern, as SHB, which harbour K. ohmeri, are attracted to the volatiles produced by K. ohmeri growing on bee collected pollen.