Small Hive Beetle

Aethina tumida

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Changed on: 28.08.2018
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Kleiner Bienenstockkäfer
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Kleiner Bienenstockkäfer

The small hive beetle is endemic to sub-Saharan Africa and is a member of the family of sap beetles (Nitdulidae). Meanwhile, it has also been discovered in Central and North America, Australia and even in Europe.

An infestation with the small hive beetle is listed as a reportable epidemic disease in the Council Directive 82/894/EEC on the notification of animal diseases within the Community (last amended by the Council’s implementing Decision 2012/737/EU to replace Annexes I and II of this directive).

Both the infestation with the small hive beetle and the suspicion of its presence must be reported to the authorities in line with the Austrian Honeybee Act (Bienenseuchengesetz, Art. 3. (1) 1. and 2.).

Kleiner Bienenstockkäfer
caption
Kleiner Bienenstockkäfer

The small hive beetle is endemic to sub-Saharan Africa and is a member of the family of sap beetles (Nitdulidae). Meanwhile, it has also been discovered in Central and North America, Australia and even in Europe.

An infestation with the small hive beetle is listed as a reportable epidemic disease in the Council Directive 82/894/EEC on the notification of animal diseases within the Community (last amended by the Council’s implementing Decision 2012/737/EU to replace Annexes I and II of this directive).

Both the infestation with the small hive beetle and the suspicion of its presence must be reported to the authorities in line with the Austrian Honeybee Act (Bienenseuchengesetz, Art. 3. (1) 1. and 2.).

Effects

Effects

The small hive beetle has specialised in reproducing using bee colonies as hosts. Adult beetles can fly up to 16 km to find a hive.

Following mating, the females lay a large number of eggs, preferably in the cracks and crevices of the hive.

The larvae hatch and feed on the colony’s brood, pollen reserves and honey. Once fully grown, they leave the hive and pupate in the soil nearby: they burrow five to 60 cm into the soil right in front of the hive’s entrance.

Should the soil be unsuitable, they may move up to 80 metres away. Once in the soil, they pupate. The pupation period may last three to four weeks.
The freshly hatched beetles will be ready to mate one week later and will search for new bee colonies to continue reproduction.

There can be one to six generations of beetles per year, depending on the climate. Adult beetles can hibernate by forming a winter cluster, thus, surviving in colder regions (e.g. the USA, Canada).

Measures

Measures

As a preventative measure, bee colonies or queen bees should not be imported to Austria from Italy or brought back to Austria at present.

The European Community regulations for trading live bees and bumble bees state that “bees/bumble bees must come from an area of at least 100 km radius which is not subject to any restrictions associated with the suspicion or confirmed occurrence of the small hive beetle and where these infestations are absent” (part 2 of ANNEX E of the Council Directive 92/65 EEC).

Data sheet small hive beetle

    Infosheet - Small Hive Beetle (2015_1) (0.91 M)
    Infosheet - Small Hive Beetle (2015_1)
    download file  | open PDF

Life and identification features

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