Olfactory cues released by adult bees, brood, pollen, and honey from a honey bee, Apis mellifera L., colony are the primary stimuli that guide the beetle Aethina tumida Murray (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) to host colonies. To investigate the response of adult A. tumida to visual stimuli, we tested the influence of color and height on trap efficiency. Two pole trap colors (black and white) were evaluated at three heights (46 cm, 1 m, and 3 m) from October 2008 to December 2009. A. tumida were trapped in the greatest numbers between 17 April and 15 May 2009. The lowest numbers were captured during the winter and fall. The trapping results showed that both color and trap height significantly influenced capture. The average catch in the white traps (mean ± SE, 2.47 ± 0.30) was significantly higher than that of the black traps (1.53 ± 0.29) probably because white is more reflective than black. Among the heights evaluated, there were more beetles caught when traps were positioned at 46 cm (the same height as the entrance of the hives) with 3.07 ± 0.51 beetles compared with beetles captured at 1 m (1.88 ± 0.30) or 3 m (1.06 ± 0.18) high. Male and female beetles exhibited similar responses to trap color and height. The relationship between the numbers of beetles in colonies and capture rates in traps was very poor and did not provide a basis to evaluate trap efficiency. In addition, because capture rates seemed generally low in relationship to the number of beetles in the apiary, substantial improvements to the trap may be necessary.
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Vol. 104 • No. 1