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Occurrence, diversity and pattern of damage of Oplostomus species (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae), honey bee pests in Kenya


Several arthropod pests including the hive beetles Aethina tumida and Oplostomus haroldi and the ectoparasite Varroa destructor have recently been identified as associated with honey bee colonies in Kenya. Here, we report the first documentation of Oplostomus fuligineus in Kenya, a related scarab of O. haroldi, and distribution, diversity and pattern of damage of the two scarab species on honey bee colonies. Sequence analyses of mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I gene revealed that there was sufficient sequence divergence to separate both Oplostomus beetles. The same molecular marker separated O. haroldi according to place of origin in Kenya. We further show from analysis of feeding behavioural patterns that the two scarab species damaged honey bee combs similarly causing the most damage on brood through feeding; O. haroldi (80%), with O. fuligineus (100%). We discuss our results in relation to the threats these scarabs may pose to bee health in Kenya.

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The authors are grateful to J. Kilonzo, N. Onyango, J. Nganga and E. Mokua for their assistance during the inspection of honey bee colonies; M. Mutua (National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi) and Dr M. Barclay (National History Museum, London) for identification of Oplostomus fuligineus. ATF was funded through a studentship provided by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). The authors are also grateful to theBarcode of Life Data systems laboratory hosted at the University of Guelph for generating some beetle barcodes. Lastly, the authors acknowledge the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA–ARS) for funding this project (SCA-586615-7-119F).

Présence, diversité et types de dégâts des espèces d’Oplostomus (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae), ennemies des abeilles au Kenya

Abeille / Oplostomus haroldi / Oplostomus fuligineus / gène de la cytochrome oxydase I

Vorkommen, Diversität und Schadbilder verschiedener Oplostomus-Arten (Coleoptera:Scarabaeidae), Schädlinge der Honigbiene in Kenia

Honigbienen / Oplostomus haroldi / Oplostomus fuligineus / Scarabäidae / Cytochromoxidase I Gen

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Correspondence to Baldwyn Torto.

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Manuscript editor: Stan Schneider

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Table S1

Summary of locations surveyed between February 2010 and May 2011 (DOC 60 kb)

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Fombong, A.T., Mumoki, F.N., Muli, E. et al. Occurrence, diversity and pattern of damage of Oplostomus species (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae), honey bee pests in Kenya. Apidologie 44, 11–20 (2013).

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  • honey bees
  • Oplostomus haroldi
  • Oplostomus fuligineus
  • scarab
  • cytochrome oxidase I gene