How to Slow The Global Spread of Small Hive Beetles, Aethina tumida

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Small Hive Beetle (Credit: Marc O Schafer)

Small Hive Beetle (Credit: Marc O Schafer)

Today, scientists of the honey bee research association COLOSS1 have published an article2 in the peer reviewed journal Biological Invasions which provides an action plan on how to deal with new introductions of small hive beetles (Aethina tumida) into regions free of this honey bee pest. Their proposed course of action will help stakeholders all over the world to slow down the spread of this invasive species. But it’s not all good news. Large knowledge gaps were identified, signalling the urgent need for more research to stop this invasive species from becoming an even more severe global problem for beekeepers and pollination.

Small hive beetles are parasites and scavengers of social bee colonies endemic to sub-Saharan Africa but have become a widespread global invasive species, causing damage to apiculture and possibly also to wild bees. Although further spread seems inevitable, eradication of new introductions and containment of established ones is urgently required to slow down the invasion speed. The authors therefore propose a feasible plan involving all stakeholders. “Early detection is most important. Only if an introduction is detected before the beetles manage to spread into wild honey bee colonies will it be possible to eradicate,” says Norman Carreck, from the Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects at the University of Sussex, UK. “To achieve this, we need to raise awareness and have to educate all stakeholders about the beetle’s biology and how to recognize it”.

For early detection and successful eradication, it seems fundamental to ensure an adequate border control and to install sentinel apiary sites. After small hive beetles are officially detected, the competent authorities must implement epidemiological investigations to determine the population status to be able to decide between eradication or containment. Furthermore, a surveillance system should be activated and maintained. Sentinel colonies have to be installed at outbreak apiaries to lure free-flying SHBs that might have escaped eradication. However, the authors strongly suggest further scientific research to support their plan of action. “Much about the biology of the small hive beetle is still unknown” says Prof. Peter Neumann, co-author and president of COLOSS. “We urgently need to address fundamental research questions to enable adequate solutions for this invasive pest” he adds.

The authors suggest a combination of measures to decrease the chances of small hive beetles becoming established beyond their current distribution. These best practices should be adopted by competent authorities until further scientific insights are available to improve the plan of action suggested by the authors.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT

Dr Marc Schäfer: Tel: +49 38351 7 1246/1297 Email: Marc.Schaefer@fli.de

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

1. The paper: “How to slow the global spread of small hive beetles, Aethina tumida” by Marc Schäfer, Ilaria Cardaio, Giovanni Cilia, Bram Cornelissen, Karl Crailsheim, Giovanni Formato, Akinwande Lawrence, Yves Le Conte, Franco Mutinelli, Antonio Nanetti, Jorge Rivera-Gomis, Anneke Teepe and Peter Neumann can be found here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10530-019-01917-x

2. COLOSS is a honey bee research association formerly funded by the European Union COST Programme (Action FA0803) and currently by the Ricola Foundation – Nature & Culture, Veto Pharma, the University of Bern and the Eva Crane Trust which aims to explain and prevent massive honey bee colony losses. COLOSS does not directly support science, but aims to coordinate international research activities across Europe and worldwide, promoting cooperative approaches and a research programme with a strong focus on the transfer of science into beekeeping practice. COLOSS has more than 1,200 members drawn from 95 countries worldwide. Its President is Prof. Peter Neumann of the University of Bern, Switzerland. Website: http://www.coloss.org/

3. Press release written by:
Dr Marc Schäfer, Institut für Infektionsmedizin, Greifswald, Germany. https://www.fli.de/ Email: Marc.Schaefer@fli.de

Dr Bram Cornelissen, Wageningen Plant Research, Netherlands.
http://www.flickr.com/bijenonderzoek Email: bram.cornelissen@wur.nl

Prof. Peter Neumann: President of COLOSS, University of Bern, Switzerland.
http://www.bees.unibe.ch/about_us/personen/prof_dr_neumann_peter/index_eng.html
Email: peter.neumann@vetsuisse.unibe.ch

Norman Carreck: COLOSS Press Officer, University of Sussex, BN1 9QG, UK. Tel: +44 7918670169 Email: norman.carreck@btinternet.com

Genome Published of The Small Hive Beetle, A Major Honey Bee Parasite

Phys.org From the Department of Agriculture December 20, 2018

Small hive beetles in a honey bee colony. Credit: Agricultural Research Service-USDA

Small hive beetles in a honey bee colony. Credit: Agricultural Research Service-USDA

Beekeepers and researchers will welcome the unveiling of the small hive beetle's genome by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and their colleagues. The small hive beetle (SHB) is a major parasite problem of honey bees for which there are few effective treatments.

The SHB (Aethina tumida Murray) genome—a genome is the sum total of all an organism's DNA; a gene codes for a single protein to be built—is available at is available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/genome/annotation_euk/Aethina_tumida/100 and was recently published in GigaScience.

This information will provide crucial keys that should lead to better, more targeted SHB control methods, including insecticidal treatments and possibly even genetic/breeding solutions.

The SHB has a strong gene-guided system that lets the beetle detoxify many insecticides. Having the genome will allow researchers to gain a more precise understanding of these detoxification genes, so more effective choices for control treatments can be made.

"The big challenge is identifying control methods that will target SHBs but not harm honey bees," said geneticist Jay Evans, who ran the project and is also leader of the ARS Bee Research Laboratory. "One strategy is to look for insecticides that hit pathways in the genome where the SHB has few or no detoxification genes. It would be even better if an insecticide could be identified for which the honey bee has detoxification genes but that the SHB doesn't.

A native of sub-Saharan Africa, the SHB has spread to many other locations, including North America, Europe, Australia, and the Philippines. It was first found in the United States in 1996 and during the summer of 1998, the SHB was blamed for losses of more than 20,000 honey bee colonies in Florida alone.

Today, the SHB has spread throughout the United States. It is a major problem especially for queen breeders and honey production. SHBs eat everything and anything in a bee colony: pollen, brood, honey, dead adult bees and combs) and cause honey to ferment in the process. If the number of SHBs is high enough, adult bees will abscond from the hive.

One avenue to which the SHB genome has already pointed is where to look for clues for how the SHB finds beehives; what pheromones or other smells do SHBs follow to target honey bee colonies.

Although there are about 350,000 beetle species and subspecies, only seven beetle genomes, including the SHB, have been completed and published.

Completing the SHB genome takes on even more importance when you realize that among the SHB's close relatives are the destructive and invasive Asian longhorned beetle along with other sap beetles that are pests of sweet corn, tomatoes, strawberries and other fruit and vegetable crops.

The Agricultural Research Service is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific in-house research agency. Daily, ARS focuses on solutions to agricultural problems affecting America. Each dollar invested in agricultural research results in $20 of economic impact.

Explore further: Study examines insecticide's effects on honey bees

Journal reference: GigaScience

Provided by: US Department of Agriculture

Read more at:https://phys.org/news/2018-12-genome-published-small-hive-beetle.html#jCp

Small Hive Beetle: Risk of Spread Assessed In Europe

Bee Culture - Catch the Buzz    January 2, 2016

European Food Safety Authority:

The small hive beetle (SHB), a pest affecting honeybees, bumblebees and stingless bees that has been present in southern Italy since at least September 2014, could survive in all EU Member States and spread rapidly over large distances if infested hives are moved. Restrictions on the movement of honey bees, bumblebees and commodities from infested to non-infested areas should therefore be maintained to prevent the pest spreading further in the EU. These are some of the findings of a Scientific Opinion published by EFSA today.

Animal health experts constructed two mathematical models to predict the potential spread of SHB from infested to non-infested areas. These showed that it would take more than 100 years for the SHB to move naturally from Calabria to Abruzzo (around 250 km), but that movement of infested hives would accelerate the process significantly.

EFSA also assessed risk-mitigating factors that could be effective in ensuring safe intra-EU trade of live bees, apiculture products and by-products. The main conclusions were:

  • detection of SHB by visual inspection has been found to be highly effective and feasible for consignments of queen bees;
  • use of fine mesh (with a maximum 2mm pore size) to avoid contamination during transport is highly effective for consignments of bees, bee products to be used in apiculture, non-extracted comb honey and used beekeeping equipment;
  • freezing, heating and desiccation of bee products and used equipment are highly effective at reducing the risk of SHB transmission;
  • beekeepers should keep records of movements of their hives to facilitate investigation of outbreaks.

For apiaries, risk-mitigating measures that are effective for controlling SHB in an infested area where eradication is no longer the objective include:

  • good hive hygiene and beekeeping practices;
  • rigorous visual inspection, which can identify not only damage caused by the pest, but also the pest in its different life stages;
  • soil treatment with pyrethroid insecticides. This should be applied only in the event of comb damage and when their use in the respective Member State is authorised. Exposure of non-target species to pyrethroids should be avoided.

Background

SHB was first detected in Calabria in September 2014 and in Sicily a few weeks later. These areas are a major source of queen bees that are shipped to many parts of the EU.

Italy has implemented regional and national measures to contain, survey and if possible to eradicate SHB. This involves destruction of infected apiaries and restriction of movement of colonies and certain apiculture products, by-products and beekeeping equipment. The European Commission has also imposed restrictions on intra-EU trade. In particular, colonies and queens must not leave restricted areas.

New SHB detections in Calabria in September and October 2015 indicate that the infestation has not yet been eradicated.

http://goo.gl/vVnBYl

Small Hive Beetle Excluder That's Easy to Make

THE HIVE BEETLE EXCLUDER. This idea using an inside flange and NEVERWET will keep the Small Hive Beetle out of your hive for good. Also a great tip on top vent protection from Hive Beetles at end of video.

Thanks to Carlen Jupe, California State Beekeepers Association, for passing along this link: "While Jeff does ask for donations at the end of the video, he first gives a detailed explanation of how his SHB trap works, and that will cost you only the time to watch it, which is less than 10 minutes."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfnefkJSfBs

Small Hive Beetle is in Europe to Stay

COLOSS     Press Release    November 3, 2014

The small hive beetle (Aethina tumida) is an exotic pest originally from South Africa which can infest honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies, destroying combs and brood often causing total colony loss. It invaded the southern USA in the 1990s causing significant economic loss, and has later been found in Australia, Canada and elsewhere. It is subject to statutory control in most European countries, and contingency plans have been in place for some years in anticipation of its arrival.

On 11th September 2014 the small hive beetle was discovered by beekeepers in Gioia Tauro, in south west Italy. The source of the outbreak is currently unknown. Attempts were made to eradicate the beetles, by killing colonies and treating soil with insecticide, setting up a 20 km protection zone and 100 km surveillance zone around the infested colonies.
 
Subsequent investigation has found that it is present in 48 apiaries of 13 bordering municipalities, all of them concentrated in an area of 10 km radius. Italian beekeepers have asked that the policy of compulsory destruction be halted, and other measures to avoid spread be implemented.

Dr Franco Mutinelli of the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie2 says: ”Our inspections have shown us that the beetle is found in strong bee colonies as well as weak ones, in freshly made combs as well as old ones, and in nucleus colonies as well as full colonies. However, until now the infestation appears limited to this area of Calabria region”.

The President of the international honey bee protection network COLOSS1 Prof. Peter Neumann says: “The COLOSS association is greatly concerned about this discovery, which represents the permanent arrival of this pest into Europe. It is inevitable that it will spread to other European countries, but we cannot yet predict what its effects on the beekeeping industry will be. COLOSS members will work together to bring scientific results into practice for the benefit of beekeepers to help them fight this serious pest”.

The small hive beetle (Aethina tumida) is an exotic pest originally from South Africa which can infest honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies, destroying combs and brood often causing total colony loss. It invaded the southern USA in the 1990s causing significant economic loss, and has later been found in Australia, Canada and elsewhere. It is subject to statutory control in most European countries, and contingency plans have been in place for some years in anticipation of its arrival.On 11th September 2014 the small hive beetle was discovered by beekeepers in Gioia Tauro, in south west Italy. The source of the outbreak is currently unknown. Attempts were made to eradicate the beetles, by killing colonies and treating soil with insecticide, setting up a 20 km protection zone and 100 km surveillance zone around the infested colonies.  

Subsequent investigation has found that it is present in 48 apiaries of 13 bordering municipalities, all of them concentrated in an area of 10 km radius. Italian beekeepers have asked that the policy of compulsory destruction be halted, and other measures to avoid spread be implemented.

Dr Franco Mutinelli of the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie2 says: ”Our inspections have shown us that the beetle is found in strong bee colonies as well as weak ones, in freshly made combs as well as old ones, and in nucleus colonies as well as full colonies. However, until now the infestation appears limited to this area of Calabria region”.

The President of the international honey bee protection network COLOSS1 Prof. Peter Neumann says: “The COLOSS association is greatly concerned about this discovery, which represents the permanent arrival of this pest into Europe. It is inevitable that it will spread to other European countries, but we cannot yet predict what its effects on the beekeeping industry will be. COLOSS members will work together to bring scientific results into practice for the benefit of beekeepers to help them fight this serious pest”.
 

Scotland: Killer Beetles Threat to Bees

Herald Scotland News   October 1, 2014

SCOTTISH honey bees could be ­endangered by a beetle with club-like antennae that tunnels through honeycomb and destroys entire bee colonies.

The small hive beetle, Aethina tumida, has recently been detected for the first time in Europe, in the southern Italian port city of Gioia Tauro.

Since 2011, there has been a ­substantial level of imports of package bees, workers and queens from Italy into Scotland.

The Scottish Government has now warned bee keepers to be vigilant.

Scottish Government bee inspectors, in association with the National Bee Unit, are also arranging for further inspections of colonies that have come from Italy.

The small hive beetle, which is native to Africa, can multiply to huge numbers within bee colonies, eat the brood, honey and pollen, destroy combs and cause fermentation and spoiling of the honey - and ultimately destroy the colony.

They cannot be eradicated once they are well established.

Females can lay up to 2,000 eggs in a hive during their lifetime.

Read at: http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/killer-beetle-threat-to-bees.25471845