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Tucson, Arizona, United States

Meikle W.G.,Carl Hayden Bee Research Center | Holst N.,University of Aarhus | Cook S.C.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Patt J.M.,U.S. Department of Agriculture
Journal of Economic Entomology | Year: 2015

Experiments were conducted to examine how several key factors affect population growth of the small hive beetle, Aethina tumida Murray (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae). Laboratory experiments were conducted to examine effects of food quantity and temperature on reproduction of cohorts of young A. tumida adults (1:1 sex ratio) housed in experimental arenas. Daily numbers and total mass of larvae exiting arenas were highly variable within treatment. Either one or two cohorts of larvae were observed exiting the arenas. Food quantity, either 10 g or 20 g, did not significantly affect the number of larvae exiting arenas at 32°C, but did at 28°C; arenas provided 20 g food produced significantly more larvae than arenas provided 10 g. Temperature did not affect the total mass of larvae provided 10 g food, but did affect larval mass provided 20 g; beetles kept at 28°C produced more larval mass than at 32°C. Field experiments were conducted to examine A. tumida reproductive success in full strength bee colonies. Beetles were introduced into hives as egg-infested frames and as adults, and some bee colonies were artificially weakened through removal of sealed brood. Efforts were unsuccessful; no larvae were observed exiting from, or during the inspection of, any hives. Possible reasons for these results are discussed. The variability observed in A. tumida reproduction even in controlled laboratory conditions and the difficulty in causing beetle infestations in field experiments involving full colonies suggest that accurately forecasting the A. tumida severity in such colonies will be difficult. © 2015 The Authors. Source

DeGrandi-Hoffman G.,Carl Hayden Bee Research Center | Ahumada F.,AgScience Consulting LLC | Zazueta V.,Carl Hayden Bee Research Center | Chambers M.,Carl Hayden Bee Research Center | And 2 more authors.
Experimental and Applied Acarology | Year: 2016

Varroa mites are a serious pest of honey bees and the leading cause of colony losses. Varroa have relatively low reproductive rates, so populations should not increase rapidly, but often they do. Other factors might contribute to the growth of varroa populations including mite migration into colonies on foragers from other hives. We measured the proportion of foragers carrying mites on their bodies while entering and leaving hives, and determined its relationship to the growth of varroa populations in those hives at two apiary sites. We also compared the estimates of mite population growth with predictions from a varroa population dynamics model that generates estimates of mite population growth based on mite reproduction. Samples of capped brood and adult bees indicated that the proportion of brood cells infested with mites and adult bees with phoretic mites was low through the summer but increased sharply in the fall especially at site 1. The frequency of capturing foragers with mites on their bodies while entering or leaving hives also increased in the fall. The growth of varroa populations at both sites was not significantly related to our colony estimates of successful mite reproduction, but instead to the total number of foragers with mites (entering and leaving the colony). There were more foragers with mites at site 1 than site 2, and mite populations at site 1 were larger especially in the fall. The model accurately estimated phoretic mite populations and infested brood cells until November when predictions were much lower than those measured in colonies. The rapid growth of mite populations particularly in the fall being a product of mite migration rather than mite reproduction only is discussed. © 2016 The Author(s) Source

Corby-Harris V.,Carl Hayden Bee Research Center | Maes P.,University of Arizona | Anderson K.E.,Carl Hayden Bee Research Center | Anderson K.E.,University of Arizona
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

The honey bee is a key pollinator species in decline worldwide. As part of a commercial operation, bee colonies are exposed to a variety of agricultural ecosystems throughout the year and a multitude of environmental variables that may affect the microbial balance of individuals and the hive. While many recent studies support the idea of a core microbiota in guts of younger in-hive bees, it is unknown whether this core is present in forager bees or the pollen they carry back to the hive. Additionally, several studies hypothesize that the foregut (crop), a key interface between the pollination environment and hive food stores, contains a set of 13 lactic acid bacteria (LAB) that inoculate collected pollen and act in synergy to preserve pollen stores. Here, we used a combination of 454 based 16S rRNA gene sequencing of the microbial communities of forager guts, crops, and corbicular pollen and crop plate counts to show that (1) despite a very different diet, forager guts contain a core microbiota similar to that found in younger bees, (2) corbicular pollen contains a diverse community dominated by hive-specific, environmental or phyllosphere bacteria that are not prevalent in the gut or crop, and (3) the 13 LAB found in culture-based studies are not specific to the crop but are a small subset of midgut or hindgut specific bacteria identified in many recent 454 amplicon-based studies. The crop is dominated by Lactobacillus kunkeei, and Alpha 2.2 (Acetobacteraceae), highly osmotolerant and acid resistant bacteria found in stored pollen and honey. Crop taxa at low abundance include core hindgut bacteria in transit to their primary niche, and potential pathogens or food spoilage organisms seemingly vectored from the pollination environment. We conclude that the crop microbial environment is influenced by worker task, and may function in both decontamination and inoculation. Source

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