Free Access
Volume 38, Number 6, November-December 2007
Page(s) 595 - 605
Published online 19 February 2008
Apidologie 38 (2007) 595-605
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2007042

Small hive beetle, Aethina tumida, populations I: Infestation levels of honeybee colonies, apiaries and regions

Sebastian Spiewoka, Jeff S. Pettisb, Michael Duncanc, Robert Spooner-Hartc, David Westerveltd and Peter Neumanne, f, g

a  Institut für Biologie, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Hoher Weg 4, 06099 Halle (Saale), Germany
b  USDA-ARS Bee Research Laboratory, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA
c  Centre for Plant and Food Science, University of Western Sydney, Penrith South, NSW 1797, Australia
d  Florida Department of Agriculture, Division of Plant Industry, Gainesville, FL 32614, USA
e  Swiss Bee Research Centre, Agroscope Liebefeld-Posieux Research Station ALP, 3003 Bern, Switzerland
f  Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
g  Eastern Bee Research Institute of Yunnan Agricultural University, Kunming, China

(Received 27 April 2007 - Revised 1 October 2007 - Accepted 10 October 2007 - Published online 19 February 2008)

Abstract - The small hive beetle (SHB) is a parasite and scavenger of honeybee colonies. Here we provide the first comprehensive systematic data on colony infestation levels with adult SHB for 226 colonies at 31 apiaries in South Africa, Australia, Florida and Maryland. Inside colonies, SHB distribution was influenced by the presence of bees with more SHB in the brood nest in the absence of bees. SHB distribution among colonies at an apiary was different from a random distribution but colony phenotypes (number of bees, amount of brood or stores) did not influence infestation levels. Apiaries next to large scale honey extraction facilities (honey houses) showed higher infestation levels and regions with more damage had higher SHB population levels. Consequently, methods of reducing SHB populations, such as the removal of dead colonies and the prevention of SHB reproduction in honey houses, seem to be important for pest management.

Key words: Aethina tumida / Apis mellifera / honeybees / infestation level / small hive beetle

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2008