Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Biology and management of small hive beetles (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae): a pest of European honey bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) colonies.

Abstract

Small hive beetle (Aethina tumida Murray) control has become an issue of increasing importance for North American apiculturists throughout the past two decades. Aethina tumida was discovered in Florida in 1989, presumably transported from its native habitat of sub-Saharan Africa through the shipment of European honey bee (Apis mellifera L) queens. Estimates of damage from A. tumida were as high as $3 million annually in the United States by the year 2004, and A. tumida was found in nearly every state by 2008. When adult beetles emerge from pupation in soil surrounding the hive, they are attracted to A. mellifera hives through a variety of pheromones and volatile organic compounds from bees and hive products. Aethina tumida larvae and adults consume hive products and bee brood, generating fermenting waste (or slime), which can eventually lead to hive abandonment in cases of severe infestation. Pest management efforts for A. tumida have focused on trapping adults, applying lime, diatomaceous earth, pyrethroid soil drenches, and entomopathogenic nematodes to the soil surrounding A. mellifera hives. Understanding the biology and life history of A. tumida, along with current control methods, can aid apiculturists in making informed integrated pest management decisions. Additionally, understanding critical knowledge gaps in the current research is an important step in identifying promising future management tactics in the ongoing efforts to manage this invasive pest.