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.

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