Developmental rate and survivorship of small hive beetle, Aethina tumida Murray (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae), life stages were measured across different temperatures (21, 25, 28, 32 and 35°C) and diets, which included natural and artificial pollen, honey, and bee pupae. Temperature affected hatch success, time to hatching, and larval growth. Eggs hatched in 61 h at 21°C but in <22 h at 35°C Larvae achieved peak weight in <8 d at 35°C but needed 17 d at 21°C. Diet had comparatively little effect on larval survivorship or maximum weight, although larvae fed only bee pupae had lower survivorship. Access to soil influenced pupation success. Duration of the life stage spent in the soil, during which pupation occurs, was also affected by temperature: adults emerged after 32.7 d at 21°C but after only 14.8 d at 35°C, albeit with high mortality. Minimum temperature for development was estimated at 13.5°C for eggs, and 10.0°C for larvae and pupae. Temperature influenced adult longevity and oviposition: on a honey and pollen diet average adult lifespan was 92.8 d at 24°C but only 11.6 d at 35°C. Beetles lived longer at 28°C or lower but produced the most eggs per female, regardless of diet, at 32°C. Beetle density influenced fecundity: beetles kept at three pairs per vial laid 6.7 times more eggs per female than those kept as single pairs. Overall, beetles fared best at 28–32°C with mortality of all stages highest at 35°C.
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Vol. 104 • No. 3