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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Byron, Georgia » Fruit and Tree Nut Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #385521

Research Project: Novel Approaches for Managing Key Pests of Peach and Pecan

Location: Fruit and Tree Nut Research

Title: Entomopathogenic nematode management of small hive beetles (Aethina tumida) in three native Alabama soils under low moisture conditions

item Shapiro Ilan, David

Submitted to: Journal of Nematology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/3/2021
Publication Date: 7/8/2021
Citation: Sanchez, W., Shapiro Ilan, D.I., Williams, G., Lawrence, K. 2021. Entomopathogenic nematode management of small hive beetles (Aethina tumida) in three native Alabama soils under low moisture conditions. Journal of Nematology. vol 53, e2021-63.

Interpretive Summary: The goal was to determine the efficacy of entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) on Aethina tumida small hive beetle (SHB) in Alabama soils. The objectives were to 1) determine the pupation success of SHB wandering larvae; 2) determine the efficacy of EPNs on SHB wandering larvae in natural and autoclaved soil; and 3) determine the efficacy of EPNs on SHB wandering larvae in three Alabama soil types at typical low moisture levels. The Alabama soils were Kalmia loamy sand (KLS), Benndale fine sandy loam (BFSL), and Decatur silt loam (DSL). Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, H. indica, Steinernema carpocapsae, S. feltiae, S. kraussei, and S. riobrave were tested at population densities of 5, 10, 20, 40, and 80 third stage infective EPN juveniles (IJ3) per 130 cm3 soil. Pupation success in SHB population densities of 5, 10, and 20 wandering larvae per Petri dish were similar. Of the six EPN species, S. carpocapsae achieved the highest efficacy across all EPN population densities in both natural and autoclaved soil. Steinernema riobrave and H. indica achieved the next highest efficacies; however, they were significantly less effective that S. carpocapsae. Steinernema carpocapsae parasitized 87% SHB wandering larvae across all population densities tested. Steinernema carpocapsae achieved the best efficacy colonizing 94% of the SHB in the KLS soil, 80% in the BFSL soil, and 47% in the DSL soil. In conclusions, S. carpocapsae is be a promising biological control EPN to implement into a management system on SHB.

Technical Abstract: Small hive beetle are important pests of bee hives. The larvae of the beetles eat pollen, honey, and the developing bees. Most of the hive beetle life cycle is in hive, but the insects pupate in the soil. Novel methods of controlling hive beetles are needed. One option is the use of beneficial nematodes (also called entomopathogenic nematodes). Beneficial nematodes are small round worms that are natural biopesticides. These nematodes do not harm humans, plants or other nontarget organisms. Beneficial nematodes can be used to control hive beetles when the pests are pupating in soil. In our study we tested the virulence (killing-power) of six different nematode species to see which one might be the best for controlling small hive beetle. The best, most virulent, nematode was Steinernema carpocapsae. Other nematodes showing promise include Heterorhabditis indica and Steinernema riobrave. Our results indicate which nematodes may be the best ones for controlling hive beetles and also demonstrate that soil type can be a factor in nematode effectiveness.