Honey bee, beehive & book scorpion
THE BOOK SCORPION IN THE HIVES OF THE WESTERN HONEY BEE
The book scorpion (Chelifer Cancroides) - formerly also known as the mite wolf - belongs to the class of arachnids (arachnida) and to the order of the pseudoscorpions. It is the most common pseudoscorpion. Currently about 3000 species of pseudoscorpions are known worldwide, about 100 from Central Europe. Different types of pseudoscorpions are found in beehives and beehives in different regions of the world. Some Ellingsenius species in the southern hemisphere have specialized in honeybees and are only found in bee colonies.
The book scorpion is a beneficial insect for bees and beekeepers The book scorpion (Chelifer Cancroides) feeds on parasites of the bees in bee hives and thus proves to be beneficial for honey bees and beekeepers. The bees let him go. I have already succeeded in permanently settling the sensitive animals in hives. I can also use IR recordings to prove that the shy animals are approaching the bees and feeling them.
Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to prove that a Varroa mite has been picked. But regardless of that, they are a welcome guest in the beehive! Book scorpion catches Varroa mite and sucks it out, more videos here Are Book Scorpions Effective in Fighting Varroa?
There are a number of indications that suggest effectiveness. There is also evidence in old literature that suggests that the book scorpion was specifically removing the varroa from the honey bees. The old and new hints about the extermination of parasites in the beehive of the western honey bee by the book scorpion are listed below:
Ludwig Koch: "Clear presentation of the European chernetids (pseudoscorpions)", Nuremberg, 1873 The first mention of the book scorpion as a roommate of honey bees can be found in the literature in 1873 in "Clear presentation of the European chernetids (pseudoscorpions)" by Ludwig Koch. He gives houses, insect boxes and mainly beehives as sites.
Alois Alfonsus: "The enemy of the bee louse", Deutsche Illustrierte Bienenzeitung, 8th year, pp. 503-506, 1891 In 1891, Alois Alfonsus wrote a short article about the discovery of these insects in beehives and their hunt for bee lice and other small insects such as mites and dust lice.
Dr. Josef Fahringer: “Observations about some inhabitants of beehives”, Bienenvater 57, pages 83-84, 1925 The strongest evidence of the reading of mites from the body of bees by book scorpions was provided by Dr. Josef Fahringer through his experiment in 1925. He filled the body of honey bees with mites that he had previously taken from the body of bumblebees. By giving the bees a food solution, he calmed them down. Now he directed book scorpions with light to the resting bees. After a short time he was able to observe the removal of mites from the workers by the book scorpion. With my infrared video recordings in beehives, I can prove that book scorpions approach and feel the bees without fear, even under natural conditions. The bees let them go.
Zoltán Örösi-Pál: "Afterscorpions (Chelonethi) in the honeybees apartment", Journal of applied entomology, Volume 25 pp. 142-150, 1939 In 1939, Zoltán Örösi-Pál gave a comprehensive overview of the current state of knowledge on the subject of pseudoscorpions in bee dwellings around the world. He writes that pseudoscorpions can usually be found on the cover boards, the oilcloth, the frame strips, the walls or on the bottom of the box. He had never seen her on the honeycomb. I can confirm this observation, and I have never seen book scorpions walking over honeycombs either. I usually find them on the upper girders and on the bottom of the hive. Nest building Chelifer Cancroides Fig. 4 The book scorpion builds a nest in a beehive with integrated straw chambers He further writes that
And no brood nest was found in beehives. On this point we are further today (Fig. 4). In the meantime I have managed to settle the shy animals permanently in beehives. This is possible through suitable constructions with outer walls made of straw, additional insulation made of straw or, for example, a D-lid with straw filling. Fig. 5: Book scorpion with wax moth caterpillar, from “Afterscorpions in the honeybee's apartment” by Örösi-Pal, 1939 In 1939, Örösi-Pál describes the general opinion at the time that the book scorpion even eats mites and other small creatures on the bees.
He found in his own experiments that the book scorpion sucks the caterpillars of the large wax moth, provided they are not larger than 1 cm (Fig. 5). I can also confirm this statement through my own observations in beehives and through tests under laboratory conditions. I was also able to watch the book scorpion attack much larger caterpillars. Obviously, the effect of its poison is not enough to paralyze larger prey. He releases his victims after a while if the desired paralysis does not set in or if the resistance is too violent due to the lack of paralysis (Fig. 6). Fig. 6
The wax moth larva defends itself violently and whirls the book scorpion around Örösi-Pál closes his report with the realization that pseudoscorpions have never been seen to have a harmful effect on honeybees. It is not known whether pseudoscorpions read mites and bee lice under natural conditions from the bees' bodies.
Because of the consumption of mites, wax moth larvae, fallen bee lice and other small beehive creatures, pseudoscorpions are useful. Due to the limited number of pseudoscorpions in apiary, their use has no practical significance.
Dr. Max Beier: "The book scorpion, a welcome guest of the bee colonies", Austrian beekeeper, Jhg. 1, 1951, pp. 209-211 The article by Dr. Max Beier from 1951 "The book scorpion, a welcome guest of the bee colonies". He also describes its usefulness in exterminating various parasites in the beehive. Without citing new sources or evidence, he suggests that the book scorpion reads parasites directly from the bees. Presumably he is referring to Fahringer's experiments. His description of how the animals see is informative:
“He does not orient himself with his weak eyes, which are hardly suitable for seeing images, but with the help of long, straight whisker hairs, which in the adult animal sit in 12-fold number on the scissor fingers and due to their flexible deflection in large beakers respond even to the slightest movement of air, so that they are with a certain right called auditory hairs. ”I can confirm with my video recordings that they use their tentacles to“ see ”.
It becomes particularly clear when they are in a gap with their bodies and use their tentacles in a manner similar to periscopes on submarines (Fig. 7). Before they leave a crack they stretch a tentacle into the room and "look around". Fig. 7 Book scorpion uses "auditory hairs" on tentacles for orientation, screenshots from infrared images from beehives He goes on to describe how the book scorpion numbs his victims, pricks them on the mouth with his jaw scissors and lets gastric juice flow into the wound.
He then slurps up the meat parts liquefied by the gastric juice and consumes them. In Figure 8 I have recorded this observation under the microscope, described by Max Beier as early as 1951. Fig. 8 Book scorpion catches the Varroa mite and sucks it out Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to observe the phoresia described in the article. Beier writes that book scorpions can be found, especially during swarming, who hold onto a leg or other part of the bee's body with their palp scissors and can thus be carried along in flight.
This behavior - a kind of migratory instinct - is triggered by the unrest in the bee colony shortly before swarming. According to Beier, it is always pregnant females who are encountered as air passengers and in this way ensure the spread of the species. In his article, Beier describes how pregnant females lay up to 20 eggs, the construction of the breeding and molting nests, the hatching and the development of the young.
Finally, he dedicates himself to the Ellingsenius species occurring in beehives in the southern hemisphere, to which he attaches a more important role as vermin eaters and health police in the beehive than the book scorpions indigenous to us. Book scorpion sucks wax moth larvae Book scorpion with wax moth larvae Book scorpion sucks red bird mite Book scorpion with red bird mite Book scorpion with predatory mite scorpion with predatory mite
Book scorpion with varroa miteBook scorpion with varroa mite
Dr. Peter Weygold: "Moss and Book Scorpions", Neue Brehm Bücherei Wittenberg, 1966 In 1966 the book “Moos- und Bücherskorpione” by Dr. Peter Weygold. To this day it is the most comprehensive description of these small scissor carriers in German. Unfortunately, he does not consider the life of the book scorpions in beehives any further and only mentions this connection in passing.
Barry Donovan & Flora Paul: "Pseudoscorpions: the forgotten beneficials inside beehives and their potential for management for control of varroa and other arthropod pests", Bee World, issue 86, 2005 In 2005 the article appeared in a Bee World issue: "Pseudoscorpions: the forgotten beneficials inside beehives and their potential for management for control of varroa and other arthropod pests".
The question is whether the Chelifer Cancroides (the book scorpion), which has been forgotten in Europe, and other pseudoscorpions related to it are suitable for combating varroa mites and other parasites worldwide.
According to the authors, the book scorpion has been forgotten in Europe because it has rarely been found in modern prey systems. They suspect the reason for this is the displacement of log hives and straw baskets by magazine hives with their movable frames, made of smoothly sawn wood.
After the emergence of the varroa mite in Europe, the chemical treatment in the beehives should have finally driven the book scorpions out of the beehives. The authors suggest that at least some species of pseudoscorpions could prove to be effective control agents of varroa and other honey bee pests if they are present in hives in sufficient numbers.
Torben Schiffer: "Biological investigations on honeybees-associated pseudoscorpions (Chelifer cancroides)", state examination in biology, 2008, University of Hamburg In 2008, elementary school teacher Torben Schiffer took up the topic in his state examination paper. In the work he largely reflects the findings / views of Donovan & Paul. Through his commitment and his media presence, he helps the scissor bearers to become well known, even beyond beekeeping.
Ron van Toor et al .: "Ingestion of Varroa destructor by pseudoscorpions in honey bee hives confirmed by PCR analysis", Journal of Apicultural Research 54 (5): 1-8, 2016 In 2016, Ron van Toor uses DNA analyzes to document the consumption of varroa mites in conventional magazine hives by book scorpions.
The consumed mites could, however, have fallen naturally and have already been withdrawn from the reproduction cycle. It is therefore no proof of the effectiveness of the book scorpions in the fight against varroa.
Hans-Jürgen Ratsch et al .: "Book scorpions as Varroa fighters", final report on the research project of the Integrated Comprehensive School List and the student company Apiculture e.G., 2018 The test series “Book scorpions as Varroa fighters” from 2018 makes hope that the book scorpions will be effective. Here, a lower natural mite fall in wooden hives with book scorpions compared to wooden hives without book scorpions is found. The authors see this as proof of the effectiveness of the book scorpions. I do not think so. The mite fall was only counted weekly, this harbors the following possible falsification: Since the book scorpions prefer to stay on the bottom of the hives, it is very likely that they have removed living mites from the board, which later counted as dead natural mite fall without their intervention would have been. So fewer mites are counted than actually fell.
Such mites, which fall alive (partially injured) on the board, have already been withdrawn from the varroa reproductive cycle in the bee colony; their elimination by the book scorpion is of no use in terms of varroa control. In order to rule out this falsification, one would have to check the control boards much more frequently, perhaps even several times a day. A clearer indication of the effectiveness of the book scorpions is the established lower mortality of the peoples with book scorpions.
The number of peoples examined is, however, too small to prove the effectiveness of the book scorpions. Build beehives yourself for the integration of book scorpions Book scorpions can easily settle in the lid or bottom of the prey. They prefer to be above or below the beehive. Above the beehive, there is a D-lid with a straw filling. The addition of smaller pieces of deadwood is helpful. The bottom of a hive with book scorpions should be closed. Here you can, for example, fill a honeycomb with straw and dead wood. Locations and breeding of book scorpions The best place to breed book scorpions is certainly the environment of naturally kept animals that are plagued by small parasites.
Beehives are the perfect place with appropriate modifications / additions to the hive (provided the bees are kept untreated). Chicken coops, hay lofts and grain stores close to animal stalls also have excellent conditions. If you want to breed them in separate boxes away from these places, you have to reproduce the same conditions in them.