Keeping a low profile: small hive beetle reproduction in African honeybee colonies.
Small hive beetles (SHBs) Aethina tumida are parasites of honeybee colonies native to sub-Saharan Africa and have become an invasive species. SHB mass reproduction can destroy entire host colonies, although it is very rare in populations of African honeybee subspecies. However, there are no data available on SHB cryptic low-level reproduction in African host colonies. In the present study, we dissected entire African honeybee (Apis mellifera adansonii) colonies in Benin. The data obtained show that nondestructive, low-level SHB reproduction can be very common in Africa and is sufficient to explain local infestation levels of host colonies with adult SHBs.