The small hive beetle (Aethina tumida).
The small hive beetle, Aethina tumida, is a pest of Apis mellifera that became an invasive species at the turn of the millennium. The damaging stadium of Aethina tumida is its larvae, which feeds on honey, pollen and, preferentially, on bee brood. Thereby, the larvae destroys combs and defecates into honey, which then ferments and becomes unusable for the bees. High infestation levels may lead to the collapse of the colony or absconding behaviour; however, honey bee colonies also actively defend themselves by removing eggs, larvae and adult hive beetles, or by constructing 'prisons' made of propolis walls around the hiding places of adult beetles. This article examines the small hive beetle in detail, including diagnostic methods and therapeutic strategies used to control A. tumida in honey bee colonies.