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).