Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 601–611 | Cite as

The Impact of Recent Queenloss and Colony Pheno-type on the Removal of Small Hive Beetle (Aethina tumida Murray) Eggs and Larvae by African Honeybee Colonies (Apis mellifera capensis Esch.)

  • Sebastian Spiewok
  • Peter NeumannEmail author

The removal of small hive beetle [=SHB] eggs and larvae was studied in queenright and recently queenless Cape honeybee, Apis mellifera capensis, colonies over a range of phenotypes. The overall removal efficiency was not influenced by phenotypes or queenstate, because all introduced eggs and larvae were removed within 24 hours. Queenless colonies removed them merely slower than queenright ones. The latter ones rejected up to 300 larvae within one hour. However, colonies undergoing preparation for absconding did not completely remove SHB offspring, suggesting that removal efficiency was reduced. Since even small and recently queenless colonies effectively removed immature SHB, and no differences in the overall efficiency was found compared to A. m. scutellata we conclude that this defense behavior is well developed in African honeybees.


Aethina tumida Apis mellifera honeybee parasite small hive beetle hygienic behavior 



We are grateful to U Epperlein for technical assistance and M Kramer (USDA Beltsville) for statistical advice. Financial support was granted by a Visiting Professorship at Rhodes University and an Emmy Noether fellowship of the DFG [PN].


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für ZoologieMartin-Luther-Universität Halle-WittenbergHalle (Saale)Germany
  2. 2.Swiss Bee Research Centre, Agroscope Liebefeld-Posieux Swiss Federal Research Station ALPBernSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of Zoology and EntomologyRhodes UniversityGrahamstown 6140South Africa
  4. 4.Eastern Bee Research Institute of Yunnan Agricultural UniversityKunmingChina

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