Small hive beetles in a honey bee colony.
Beekeepers and researchers will welcome the unveiling of the small hive beetle’s genome by scientists. The small hive beetle (SHB) is a major parasite problem of honey bees for which there are few effective treatments. Completing the SHB genome takes on even more importance when you realize that among the SHB’s close relatives are the destructive and invasive Asian longhorned beetle.
Beekeepers and researchers will welcome the unveiling of the small hive beetle’s genome by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and their colleagues. The small hive beetle (SHB) is a major parasite problem of honey bees for which there are few effective treatments.
The SHB has a strong gene-guided system that lets the beetle detoxify many insecticides. Having the genome will allow researchers to gain a more precise understanding of these detoxification genes, so more effective choices for control treatments can be made.
“The big challenge is identifying control methods that will target SHBs but not harm honey bees,” said geneticist Jay Evans, who ran the project and is also leader of the ARS Bee Research Laboratory. “One strategy is to look for insecticides that hit pathways in the genome where the SHB has few or no detoxification genes. It would be even better if an insecticide could be identified for which the honey bee has detoxification genes but that the SHB doesn’t.
One avenue to which the SHB genome has already pointed is where to look for clues for how the SHB finds beehives; what pheromones or other smells do SHBs follow to target honey bee colonies.
Although there are about 350,000 beetle species and subspecies, only seven beetle genomes, including the SHB, have been completed and published.
Source:-US Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service