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J Econ Entomol. 2015 Jun;108(3):868-72. doi: 10.1093/jee/tov068. Epub 2015 Apr 20.

Radiobiology of Small Hive Beetle (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) and Prospects for Management Using Sterile Insect Releases.

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Hawaii Department of Agriculture, 16 East Lanikaula St., Hilo, HI 96720.
USDA-ARS, U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center, 64 Nowelo St., Hilo, HI 96720.


Small hive beetle, Aethina tumida Murray (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae), is considered a serious threat to beekeeping in the Western Hemisphere, Australia, and Europe mainly due to larval feeding on honey, pollen, and brood of the European honeybee, Apis mellifera L. Control methods are limited for this pest. Studies were conducted to provide information on the radiobiology of small hive beetle and determine the potential for sterile insect releases as a control strategy. Adult males and females were equally sensitive to a radiation dose of 80 Gy and died within 5-7 d after treatment. In reciprocal crossing studies, irradiation of females only lowered reproduction to a greater extent than irradiation of males only. For matings between unirradiated males and irradiated females, mean reproduction was reduced by >99% at 45 and 60 Gy compared with controls, and no larvae were produced at 75 Gy. Irradiation of prereproductive adults of both sexes at 45 Gy under low oxygen (1-4%) caused a high level of sterility (>99%) while maintaining moderate survivorship for several weeks, and should suffice for sterile insect releases. Sterile insect technique holds potential for suppressing small hive beetle populations in newly invaded areas and limiting its spread.


Aethina tumida; Apis mellifera; honey bee; sterile insect technique; x-ray radiation

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