Nonsusceptibility of the Honey Bee, Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Apidae), to Steinernematid and Heterorhabditid Nematodes


  • M. E. Baur
  • H. K. Kaya
  • Y. S. Peng
  • J. Jiang


We exposed honey bee workers and brood to four entomopathogenic nematode species under conditions normally encountered in the hive by spraying nematodes onto combs. Mortality of adult bees exposed to any of the nematode species was less than 10%, and there was no evidence of nematode infection when dead adults were dissected. To assess the impact of nematodes on brood, we used smaller-size honey combs placed in the second story (super) of a hive and large brood combs placed in the main section of the hive. Our results were inconsistent between these two experimental designs. The smaller honey combs sprayed with Steinernema carpocapsae contained the largest number of uncapped ceils, those sprayed with Heterorhabditis baeteriophora or S. riobravis contained an intermediate number of uncapped cells, and control combs and those sprayed with S. glaseri contained the fewest nmnber of uncapped cells. Large combs sprayed with S. riobravis contained more uncapped ceils than controls or those sprayed with S. carpocapsae, although the differences were not significant. Our results do not support the hypothesis that high-temperature-tolerant species of nematodes are necessarily more infective to honey bees. Key words: entomopathogenic nematode, Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, high-temperature tolerance, nontarget insect, Steinernema spp.