Free Access
Volume 39, Number 6, November-December 2008
Page(s) 683 - 693
Published online 21 November 2008
Apidologie 39 (2008) 683-693
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2008054

Small hive beetle, Aethina tumida, populations II: Dispersal of small hive beetles

Sebastian Spiewok1, Michael Duncan2, Robert Spooner-Hart2, Jeff S. Pettis3 and Peter Neumann4, 5, 6

1  Institut für Biologie, Molekulare Ökologie, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Hoher Weg 4, 06099 Halle (Saale), Germany
2  Centre for Plant and Food Science, University of Western Sydney, Penrith South, NSW 1797, Australia
3  USDA-ARS Bee Research Laboratory, Bldg. 476 BARC-E, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA
4  Swiss Bee Research Centre, Agroscope Liebefeld-Posieux Research Station ALP, 3003 Bern, Switzerland
5  Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
6  Eastern Bee Research Institute of Yunnan Agricultural University, Kunming, Yunnan Province, China

Received 3 June 2008 – Revised 19 August 2008 – Accepted 25 August 2008 - Published online 21 November 2008

Abstract - Small hive beetles (= SHB), Aethina tumida, are parasites and scavengers of honeybee colonies and actively disperse for host finding. We investigated the re-infestation levels of SHB-free colonies within ten infested apiaries in South Africa, Australia and the USA. Re-infestation of 95% of the colonies indicates a high SHB exchange between colonies. Colony position and queen status had no influence on colony infestation levels. Spread into apiaries was determined at twelve SHB-free apiaries. While apiaries in Maryland remained un-infested, those in Australia showed high infestation numbers. Apiary density, SHB population levels and ongoing SHB mass reproduction seem to govern SHB infestation of newly installed apiaries. Those located in forested habitats showed higher infestation levels possibly due to the presence of wild/feral colonies. The results elucidate factors influencing SHB dispersal and the role of human-mediated spread, enabling improved control of SHB.

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

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2008