Multiple infections of managed honeybee, Apis mellifera, colonies are inevitable due to the ubiquitous ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor and might be an underlying cause of winter losses. Here we investigated the role of adult small hive beetles, Aethina tumida, alone and in combination with V. destructor for winter losses and for infections with the microsporidian endoparasite Nosema ceranae. We found no significant influence of A. tumida and V. destructor alone or in combination on the numbers of N. ceranae spores. Likewise, A. tumida alone had no significant effects on winter losses, which is most likely due to the observed high winter mortality of the adult beetles. Therefore, our data suggest that A. tumida is unlikely to contribute to losses of overwintering honeybee colonies. However, high losses occurred in all groups highly infested with V. destructor, supporting the central role of the mite for colony losses.
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Vol. 103 • No. 1