Safeguarding against small hive beetle

What is it and why should I worry ?

Hive Beetle

Hive Beetle

The Small Hive Beetle is a member of the family Nitidulidae that are mainly scavenging beetles. Until 1998 it had never been found outside of its native location, Africa where it is only a minor pest. However, after inadvertent introduction into Florida, USA it has proved a very serious pest. It has now been found in Australia and Canada as well as the USA and a recent scare in Portugal shows that the beetle is potentially a real threat to beekeeping in the European Union.

How does it spread ?

It spreads primarily by the movement of honeybee colonies, swarms and packages and also unregulated consignments of queens. Sales of equipment and bee products such as unrefined wax can also aid the beetle’s dispersal.

What action is being taken ?

Evidence suggests that once found the pest has been present for some time and has become widespread making eradication impossible. It is essential that the beekeeping industry adhere strictly to the import regulations. The National Bee Unit (NBU) has contingency plans in the event of an SHB discovery and has increased statutory surveillance schemes. New EU legislation was implemented in 2003 and the import certification requirements strengthened.

What if I find something suspicious ?

Beekeepers must remain vigilant and look for the pest on regular basis as part of their routine inspections. Any suspect beetles or larvae should be killed in the freezer and then sent to the NBU in a sealed bottle providing as much information as possible especially name, address and OS map reference.

Item abstracted from Beecraft Jan 2005 Safeguarding against small hive beetle Selwyn Wilkins National Bee Unit

For more information on small hive beetle contact the National Bee Unit www.nationalbeeunit.com

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