Location: Chemistry ResearchTitle: A potential sexual pheromone of Aethina tumida (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae)
|TEAL, PETER - Retired ARS Employee|
Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/20/2023
Publication Date: 6/22/2023
Citation: Stuhl, C.J., Teal, P.E. 2023. A potential sexual pheromone of Aethina tumida (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae). Florida Entomologist. 106:83-89. https://doi.org/10.1653/024.106.0203.
Interpretive Summary: The decline in the honey bee population over the past decade is due in part to a major pest of the honey bee, the small hive beetle, Aethina tumida (Coleoptera: Nititulidae). This pest has had a major impact on pollinator health in North America. The western honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) provides highly valued pollination services for a wide variety of agricultural crops and is the most important species of pollinator for crops worldwide. Adult small hive beetles and larvae cause destruction by entering the hive and consume honey bee eggs, brood, pollen and honey. USDA-ARS scientists at the Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, FL have identified an aggregation pheromone produced by the male small hive beetle. A laboratory trapping assay was performed using a synthetic aggregation blend along with a fruit-based attractant containing ethanol, ethyl butyrate, acetic acid, ethyl acetate and acetaldehyde. Results indicated that the synthetic aggregation blend along with a fruit-based attractant captured significantly more beetles than the control. This blend of pheromone and fruit-based attractants provide effective control and monitoring of the small hive beetle, as well as provide needed protection of the honey bee.
Technical Abstract: Newly emerged adult small hive beetle Aethina tumida (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) emerge from the soil and seek refuge in honey bee hives. Observations of wild and colony reared populations indicate that the beetles form aggregations of many individuals of both sexes. Volatile collections performed on males and females have identified a male produced aggregation pheromone comprised of 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one, nonanal and decanal. Synergistic effects of the pheromone and a blend of fruit volatiles provide for an effective attractant for both sexes of the small hive beetle. Laboratory assays were performed with the pheromone blend and kairomone blend tested individually combined. This was done using a synthetic aggregation blend along with a fruit-based attractant containing ethanol, ethyl butyrate, acetic acid, ethyl acetate and acetaldehyde. Our results showed that the synthetic aggregation blend along with a fruit-based attractant captured significantly more beetles than the control. The key to a good trapping system is and effective attractant. Our pheromone/kairomone based attractant shows promise to be used as an effective outside the hive control measure for small hive beetle. The identification of the aggregation pheromone is an important step in the search to provide effective control and monitoring of the small hive beetle.