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

PhD Project Honey Bee Resistance to Varroa

Dr. Jarkko Routtu
City Halle(Saale)
Country Germany
PhD project in the Molecular Ecology group at Martin-Luther-University, Halle-Wittenberg, Germany. 
The aim of the project is to find genetic basis of the honey bee Apis mellifera resistance to Varroa destructor. This will be done by using the latest methods in genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics. Thus representing a unique opportunity to gain experience in an area which is of high demand in the research field. The group has...

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COLOSS: Losses Of Honey Bee Colonies Over The 2014/15 Winter

Press Release from the COLOSS association.  Losses of honey bee colonies over the 2014/15 winter. Preliminary results from an international study.

The honey bee research association COLOSS has today announced the preliminary results of their international study of colony losses over the 2014-15 winter. Data were collected from 31 countries. Egypt, Russia and the Ukraine participated for the first time in this initiative, which is the largest and longest running international study of honey bee colony losses. In total 23,234 respondents provided overwintering mortality and other data of their colonies.

Collectively, all responding beekeepers managed 469,249 honey bee colonies. 67,914 of these colonies were dead after winter and an estimated 3 % of these colonies were lost because of unsolvable queen problems after winter. A preliminary analysis of the data shows that the mortality rate over the 2014-15 winter varied between countries, ranging from 5 % in Norway to 25 % in Austria, and there were also marked regional differences within most countries. The overall proportion of colonies lost (including colonies with unsolvable queen problems after winter) was estimated as 17.4 %, which was twice that of the previous winter.

The protocol used to collect this COLOSS data has been internationally standardized to allow comparisons and joint analysis of the data. A more detailed analysis of risk factors calculated from the whole dataset, as well as further colony loss data from other countries, will be published later in the year.

International Data Coordinator for the COLOSS Monitoring and Diagnosis Working Group Romée van der Zee from the Dutch Centre for Bee Research says: “North European countries have traditionally had lower losses, compared to west and central European countries. This can partly be explained by the later start of the breeding season of their honey bee colonies due to low temperatures in March/April, as was the case in 2014. This later start limits the number of brood cycles of the varroa mite, one of the main parasites of honey bees. However, honey bee colony loss is a multifactorial problem. There is clearly also a variation in losses between areas, which is not dependent on the varroa mite. One of the main aims of our network is to identify and describe such areas.”

http://www.coloss.org/…/losses-of-honey-bee-colonies-over-t…

 

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”.
 

COLOSS (Prevention of Honey Bee COlony LOSSes Network)

COLOSS Network   9/13/13

Welcome to the home of the COLOSS (Prevention of honey bee COlony LOSSes) Network. We are a group of scientists, veterinarians, beekeepers, and students from over 60 countries that are working together to better understand honey bee health and to prevent the high numbers of colony deaths that are occurring in many regions of the world.

To meet our goals, we coordinate conferences, workshops, and short-term scientific missions across Europe and beyond for... Read more... http://www.coloss.org/

Press Release 9/13/13

 Honey bee scientists affirm their need for colony loss network. 

This weekend, over 80 of the world’s leading honey bee scientists met in Kiev, Ukraine, and took the colony loss network COLOSS, originally an EU COST action that ended last year, and turned it into a new non-profit association.  

The aims of the new association are to: “improve the well-being of bees at a global level, with a primary focus on the western honey bee Apis mellifera. The ultimate goal of the Association is to sustainably mitigate bee population declines and sudden losses by...

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The COLOSS BEEBOOK is Here!

The COLOSS “BEEBOOK: standard methodologies for Apis mellifera research” edited by Vincent Dietemann of the Swiss Bee Research Centre, Agroscope Liebefeld-Posieux, Peter Neumann of the University of Bern, Switzerland, and Jamie Ellis of the University of Florida, USA, will be published both online in the Journal of Apicultural Research and as a hard copy book for use at the laboratory bench.

The COLOSS “BEEBOOK” is a unique venture that aims to standardise methods for studying the honey bee. It will be a practical manual, compiling standard methods in all fields of research on the honey bee, Apis mellifera, and become the definitive, but evolving, research manual, composed of 33 peer-reviewed chapters authored by more than 160 of the world’s leading honey bee experts. Chapters will describe methods for studying honey bee biology, methods for understanding honey bee pests and pathogens, and methods for breeding honey bees. The initial BEEBOOK project will be divided into three volumes: The COLOSS BEEBOOK, Volume I: Standard methods for Apis mellifera research; The COLOSS BEEBOOK, Volume II: Standard methods for Apis mellifera pest and pathogen research; and The COLOSS BEEBOOK, Volume III: Standar d methods for Apis mellifera product research.

The first group of papers belonging to both Volumes I and II are published today in a Special Issue of the Journal of Apicultural Research as Open Access papers, and the remainder will be published later in 2013, at the same time as the production of Volumes I and II as hard copy. Volume III will follow in 2014. These thirteen papers have been written by 98 authors representing 25 different countries, illustrating the unprecedented degree of international collaboration that the crisis in honey bees and the COLOSS network has engendered.

COLOSS COST Action Chair Prof. Peter Neumann says: “The editors and author team hope that the BEEBOOK will serve as a reference tool for honey bee and other researchers globally. We hope that the honey bee research community will embrace this tool and work to improve it. The online platform is open for everyone to use and further contribute to the development of our research field”.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT Norman Carreck, Science Director, IBRA +44 (0)791 8670169 Email:carrecknl@ibra.org.uk 

The article “An update on the COLOSS network and the BEEBOOK: standard methodologies for Apis melliferaresearch” is available at: http://www.ibra.org.uk/articles/COLOSS-and-the-BEEBOOK.  The COLOSS BEEBOOK - Part 1 will be available at http://www.ibra.org.uk/articles/?? 

COLOSS is a network funded by the European Union COST Programme (Action FA0803) and the Ricola Foundation – Nature & Culture, which aims to explain and prevent massive honey bee colony losses. The network 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 300 members drawn from 60 countries worldwide.  It is chaired by Prof. Peter Neumann of the University of Bern, Switzerland. Website http://www.coloss.org/

The International Bee Research Association (“IBRA”) is the world's longest established apicultural research publishers and promotes the value of bees by providing information on bee science and beekeeping worldwide. IBRA publishes the peer reviewed scientific journal the Journal of Apicultural Research founded by IBRA in 1962.  It includes original research articles, theoretical papers; scientific notes and comments; together with authoritative reviews on scientific aspects of the biology, ecology, natural history, conservation and culture of all types of bee. IBRA publishes and sells books on bee science, bee conservation and beekeeping and also provides bee information services.  IBRA is a Registered Charity, and its Council of trustees boasts some of th e world’s leading bee scientists. Membership of IBRA costs just £33.00 annually.  Membership benefits include receipt of four quarterly issues of Bee World, our accessible and topical journal on latest bee research, news, reviews and other relevant information for the bee scientist, beekeeper, and anyone with an interest in bees. www.ibra.org.uk, or mail@ibra.org.uk

(The above is brought to us by CATCH THE BUZZ (Kim Flottum) Bee Culture, The Magazine of American Beekeeping, published by A.I. Root Company.) http://home.ezezine.com/1636/1636-2013.02.12.17.16.archive.html