Small Hive Beetle_ Aethina tumida Murray

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					  Small Hive Beetle,
Aethina tumida Murray

            Ellis, Ellis, and Hodges. January 2007.
            NPDN Publication No. 0018
•   Introduction
•   Description
•   Life Cycle
•   Damage
•   Control

            Photo: J. D. Ellis,
            University of Florida
• The small hive beetle (SHB), Aethina tumida Murray, is
  native to sub-Saharan Africa
• Confirmed in the Southeastern US in 1998, probably
  introduced at ports
• Initially problematic in FL, SC, and GA
• Has spread throughout the entire Eastern US, also found in
  TX and CA

Special thanks to
• Adults are dark brown to black
• Adults are about 5.6 mm long, but
  naturally occurring SHB can vary greatly
  in size

     Photo: J. D. Ellis,
     University of Florida
• SHB eggs are pearly white in appearance
• Rice-shaped, about 1.4 x 0.26 mm

        SHB eggs on honey bee prepupa.
                                         Photo: K. Delaplane,
                                         University of Georgia
• Larvae have numerous protuberances covering
  their bodies
• Mature larvae about 9.5mm in length
• Early stage pupae are pearly white
• Later-stage pupae darken as exoskeleton
  develops and hardens

               Photos: Jeffrey W. Lotz, Florida Department
               of Agriculture and Consumer Services
                              Life Cycle
• Newly emerged adults locate bee colonies
  by odor.
• Adults fly shortly after dusk.

Adult SHB on honey comb.
         Photo: J. D. Ellis,
         University of Florida
                               Life Cycle
 • In the hive, SHB seek cracks and crevices
   to hide from aggressive bees.
 • Honey bees station guards around the
   cracks where beetles hide

Adult honey bees guarding SHB.
             Photo: J. D. Ellis,
             University of Florida
                                     Life Cycle
•      If allowed to oviposit, female beetles will
       lay eggs directly on pollen and brood
•      Female ovipositors are long and flexible
       and eggs may also be laid in cracks and
    Photo left: Hole made by
    female beetle.
    Photo right: Capping
    pulled back revealing
    eggs laid by the female
    on bee prepupa.
          Photo: K. Delaplane,
          University of Georgia

                                   Life Cycle
 • A females can lay 1,000+ eggs in her
 • Majority of eggs hatch within 3 days
 • Larvae immediately feed on pollen, honey,
   and brood
 • Maturation time – 10 to 14 days

SHB larvae on honey comb.
        Photo: J. D. Ellis,
        University of Florida
                  Life Cycle
•   After larval feeding is completed, they begin a
    “wandering phase” and exit the colony to find
    suitable soil in which to pupate.
•   Most larvae pupate within 90 cm of hive
•   Most burrow less than 10 cm into soil
•   Adults emerge after 3-4 weeks

                  Photo: J. D. Ellis,
                                        Larva beginning pupation in the soil.
                  University of Florida
•   In its native range SHB does not damage
    healthy colonies.
•   Most SHB damage has occurred in SC,
    GA, and FL
•   In 1998, FL beekeepers experienced
    losses of $3 million
•   Most other states have reported isolated
    incidences of apiary-wide damage
    Photo: J. D. Ellis,
    University of Florida
     SHB damage to European honey bee
     colonies displays the following cycle:
1. Adults invade colony
2. Population build-up
3. Reproduction
4. Feeding larvae cause
   damage to brood,
   pollen, and honey
5. Larvae exit hive
6. Pupation in the soil
7. Emergence of adults
   and re-infestation of
                 Photo: J. D. Ellis,
                 University of Florida
• Honey damaged by SHB ferments and is unfit for human
• Colonies heavily infested with adult SHB may abscond
  (entirely leave the nest)
• SHB can be a significant problem in the honey house –
  stored supers of honey or pollen are targets
• Typically, SHB are considered a secondary pest of bee
  colonies, only a problem when colonies are weakened by
  other bee diseases or pests
  Photo left: Brood comb
  protected from SHB.
  Photo right: Brood comb
  exposed to SHB.

        Photo: J. D. Ellis,
        University of Florida
• Methods include the following:
  – Chemical (short term and limited value)
  – Cultural/Mechanical
  – Biological
  – Genetic

     Photo: J. D. Ellis,
     University of Florida
• Cultural/Mechanical
  – Minimize foodstuffs to which beetles may be attracted
    (honey, bits of comb, cappings, etc.)
  – Extract supers of honey quickly to reduce beetle
  – Eliminate, requeen, or strengthen weak colonies
  – Reduce colony stresses – brood diseases, pest
    problems and activity, failing queens, excessive
    swarming, and over-supering

    Photo: J. D. Ellis,
    University of Florida
• Cultural/Mechanical
  – In-hive trapping devices
      • Hood beetle trap
      • West beetle trap
  – Attractive baits
      • Researchers currently developing bait based on
        yeast associated with SHB

  Hood Beetle Trap
   Photo: J. D. Ellis,
   University of Florida
• Biological
  – Soil-dwelling nematodes
    have demonstrated
    activity against
    pupating SHB
• Genetic
  – Honey bees have
    natural defenses
    against SHB, such as
    Hygenic Behavior –
    bees able to detect and
    remove brood that has
    been oviposited on by
                                              Honey bee removing prepupa
                   Photo: J. D. Ellis,        from colony after SHB infestation.
                   University of Florida
• SHB has continued to spread across the US but
  most damage has been confined to the
  southeastern U. S.
• If you suspect Aethina tumida…
  – Contact your local cooperative extension
  – Contact your local NPDN diagnostic lab
• Ellis, JD (2005) Reviewing the confinement of
  small hive beetles (Aethina tumida) by
  western honey bees (Apis mellifera). Bee
  World, 86(3): 56-62.
• Ellis, JD, Hepburn, HR (2006) An ecological
  digest of the small hive beetle (Aethina
  tumida), a symbiont in honey bee colonies
  (Apis mellifera). Insectes Sociaux, 53(1): 8-
• Hood, WM 2004. The small hive beetle,
  Aethina tumida: A review. Bee World, 85(3):
      Additional Information
• Amanda M. Ellis,
  University of Florida, SPDN
  Currently, Florida Dept. of Agriculture, Division of
  Plant Industry

• James D. Ellis, Ph.D.,
   Assistant Professor, University of Florida

• Amanda C. Hodges, Ph.D.,
  SPDN Assistant Director, University of Florida
           Editorial Review
• Jerry Hayes, Florida Department of
  Agriculture & Consumer Services, Division
  of Plant Industry
• Steve Bambara, Department of
  Entomology, North Carolina State
          Publication Details
• This publication can be used for non-profit,
  educational use only purposes. Photographers
  retain copyright to photographs or other images
  contained in this publication as cited. This material
  was developed as a topic-based training module for
  NPDN First Detector Training. Authors and the
  website should be properly cited. Images or
  photographs should also be properly cited and
  credited to the original source.

• Publication Number: 0018
• Publication Date: January 2007

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