Aiming to eradicate small hive beetle Aethina tumida using entomopathogenic nematodes


Abstract: The small hive beetle (Aethina tumida) is an endemic parasitic pest and scavenger ofcolonies of social bees indigenous to sub-Saharan Africa. In this region the beetles rarely inflictsevere damage on strong colonies since the bees have developed strategies to combat them.However, A. tumida has since ‘escaped’ from its native home and has recently invaded areas suchas North America and Australia where its economic impact on the apiculture industry has beensignificant. Commercially available entomopathogenic nematodes were screened for theirpotential to control beetle larvae. The nematodes Steinernema kraussei and S. carpocapsaeprovided excellent control with 100% mortality of larvae being obtained. Delayed applications ofthe nematodes following larvae entering sand to pupate also provided excellent control for up to3 weeks. The information gained supports the development of contingency plans to deal withA. tumida should it occur in the UK or Europe.

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