Worldwide diaspora of Aethina tumida (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae), a nest parasite of honey bees

Zachary Lounsberry, Sebastian Spiewok, Stephen F. Pernal, Tad S. Sonstegard, W. Michael Hood, Jeffery Pettis, Peter Neumann, Jay D. Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Native to sub-Saharan Africa, Aethina tumida Murray (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) is now an invasive pest of honey bee, Apis mellifera L., colonies in Australia and North America. Knowledge about the introduction (s) of this beetle from Africa into and among the current ranges will elucidate pest populations and invasion pathways and contribute to knowledge of how a parasite expands in new populations. We examined genetic variation in adult beetle samples from the United States, Australia, Canada, and Africa by sequencing a 912-base pair region of the mitochondrial DNA cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene and screening 10 informative microsatellite loci. One Canadian introduction of small hive beetles can be traced to Australia, whereas the second introduction seems to have come from the United States. Beetles now resident in Australia were of a different African origin than were beetles in North America. North American beetles did not show covariance between two mitochondrial haplotypes and their microsatellite frequencies, suggesting that these beetles have a shared source despite having initial genetic structure within their introduced range. Excellent dispersal of beetles, aided in some cases by migratory beekeeping and the bee trade, seems to lead to panmixis in the introduced populations as well as in Africa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)671-677
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of the Entomological Society of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Aethina tumida
  • Apis mellifera
  • DNA barcode
  • Invasive species
  • pollination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science


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