Nest-to-nest dispersal of Chaetodactylus krombeini (Acari, Chaetodactylidae) associated with Osmia cornifrons (Hym., Megachilidae)


Yong-Lak Park (corresponding author), Division of Plant and Soil Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA.


A cleptoparasitic mite, the Krombein’s hairy-footed mite, Chaetodactylus krombeini Baker (Acari, Chaetodactylidae) became a key pest that affects the maintenance and propagation of Osmia spp. (Hym., Megachilidae), thus disrupting orchard pollination in the United States. Although hypopi, the dispersal stages of C. krombeini, are known to disperse from nest to nest by hitchhiking on Osmia cornifrons adults, we observed that they might disperse in other ways too in commercial orchards. This study was conducted to elucidate the nest-to-nest dispersal mechanisms of C. krombeini hypopi. We tested three potential dispersal mechanisms of C. krombeini other than phoresy by O. cornifrons: (1) dispersal by walking from nest to entrances of nearby nests, (2) dispersal by walking from nest to nest through emergence holes made by parasitic wasps on nests, and (3) dispersal by being unloaded and uptaken to and from flowers by O. cornifrons. Results of this study showed that C. krombeini hypopi could disperse from a nest to nearby nests by walking through nest entrances and holes made by parasitic wasps of O. cornifrons. Although 0.06% of C. krombeini hypopi on blueberry flowers were picked up by O. cornifrons, they were not able to be unloaded to flowers from O. cornifrons and no hypopi could inhabit or survive on blueberry flowers. This indicated no or very low chance of C. krombeini hypopi dispersal via blueberry flowers. Based on our findings of C. krombeini dispersal ecology, development of C. krombeini control strategies are discussed in this article.