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The effects of diet, mating duration, female to male ratios, and temperature on ovary activation, mating success, and fecundity of Aethina tumida


The effects of natural diet (brood, pollen, honey, and their various combinations), mating duration (1 day versus 2 days), female (F) to male (M) ratio (1F/1M, 2F/1M, and 1F/2M), and temperature (34 versus 27–29 °C) on ovary activation, mating success, and fecundity of small hive beetles (SHBs) were studied. Our results indicated that regardless of mating duration, (1) a diet of brood, pollen, and honey presented together supported the highest fecundity; (2) intake of protein-rich diets encouraged ovary activation and egg-laying; and (3) diet of honey alone did not encourage ovary activation, mating success, and egg-laying at room temperature. Regardless of the number of males available for mating, egg-laying varied through time. Overall, females that were presented with two males for a 5-day mating period had higher fecundity than females provided with one male or three male partners. High temperature accelerated ovary activation and egg-laying regardless of female to male ratio during a 15-h mating period. Knowledge of these factors that influence fecundity helps elucidate why SHBs are very successful pests of honey bees.

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We thank J.A. Stelzer, J. Wales, and G. Delatte for their technical assistance.

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Correspondence to Lilia I. de Guzman.

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Les effets du régime alimentaire, de la durée de l’accouplement, du ratio femelle/mâle et de la température sur l’activation ovarienne, le succès de l’accouplement et la fécondité d’ Aethina tumida

petit coléoptère des ruches / succès reproducteur / partenaire sexuel / ennemi de la ruche

Auswirkungen der Diät, Paarungsdauer, des Geschlechterverhältnisses und der Temperatur auf die Ovaraktivierung, den Parrungserfolg und die Fekundität von Aethina tumida

Aethina tumida / Fekundität / Ovaraktivierung / Paarungsdauer / Paarungspartner

Manuscript editor: Stan Schneider

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de Guzman, L.I., Rinderer, T.E. & Frake, A.M. The effects of diet, mating duration, female to male ratios, and temperature on ovary activation, mating success, and fecundity of Aethina tumida . Apidologie 46, 326–336 (2015).

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  • Aethina tumida
  • fecundity
  • ovary activation
  • diet
  • mating duration
  • mating partner