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1 February 2012 Estimating Reproductive Success of Aethina tumida (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) in Honey Bee Colonies by Trapping Emigrating Larvae
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The small hive beetle (Aethina tumida Murray) is a scavenger and facultative predator in honey bee colonies, where it feeds on pollen, honey, and bee brood. Although a minor problem in its native Africa, it is an invasive pest of honey bees in the United States and Australia. Adult beetles enter bee hives to oviposit and feed. Larval development occurs within the hive, but mature larvae leave the hive to pupate in soil. The numbers leaving, which can be estimated by trapping, measure the reproductive success of adult beetles in the hive over any given period of time. We describe a trap designed to intercept mature larvae as they reach the end of the bottom board on their way to the ground. Trap efficiency was estimated by releasing groups of 100 larvae into empty brood boxes and counting the numbers trapped. Some larvae escaped, but mean efficiency ranged from 87.2 to 94.2%. We envision the trap as a research tool for study of beetle population dynamics, and we used it to track numbers of larvae leaving active hives for pupation in the soil. The traps detected large increases and then decreases in numbers of larvae leaving colonies that weakened and died. They also detected small numbers of larvae leaving strong European and African colonies, even when no larvae were observed in the hives.

© 2012 Entomological Society of America
Richard T. Arbogast, Baldwyn Torto, Steve Willms, Ayuka T. Fombong, Adrian Duehl, and Peter E. A. Teal "Estimating Reproductive Success of Aethina tumida (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) in Honey Bee Colonies by Trapping Emigrating Larvae," Environmental Entomology 41(1), (1 February 2012).
Received: 1 August 2011; Accepted: 1 October 2011; Published: 1 February 2012

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