The population dynamics of the honey bee pest Aethina turida Murray (small hive beetle) have been studied in the United States with flight and Langstroth hive bottom board traps baited with pollen dough inoculated with a yeast Kodamaea ohmeri associated with the beetle. However, little is known about the population dynamics of the beetle in its native host range. Similarly baited Langstroth hive bottom board traps were used to monitor the occurrence and seasonal abundance of the beetle in honey bee colonies at two beekeeping locations in Kenya. Trap captures indicated that the beetle was present in honey bee colonies in low numbers all year round, but it was most abundant during the rainy season, with over 80% trapped during this period. The survival of larvae was tested in field releases under dry and wet soil conditions, and predators of larvae were identified. The actvity and survival of the beetle were strongly influenced by a combination of abiotic and biotic factors. Larval survival was higher during wet (28%) than dry (1.1%) conditions, with pupation occurring mostly at 0–15 cm and 11–20 cm, respectively, beneath the surface soil during these periods. The ant Pheidole megacephala was identified as a key predator of larvae at this site, and more active during the dry than wet seasons. These observations imply that intensive trapping during the rainy season could reduce the population of beetles infesting hives in subsequent seasons especially in places where the beetle is a serious pest.
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