17 September 2014

Small Hive Beetle in Italy

I would think that most British beekeepers would know by now that Small Hive Beetle Aethina tumida has been found in Italy - not the first time it's been found on mainland Europe because it was previously found in, and eradicated from, Portugal. Here's hoping the Italians will be able to deal with it as efficiently.

** Update**
15 June 2015 - Good news, I hope.
Via Gavin Ramsay  on sbai
I have to say that the apparent success of the eradication attempt in southern Italy is surprising ... and good. It might still be lurking somewhere there - or elsewhere in Europe - but this sea of green dots for 2015 is very promising.
From Italian health authority and research organization for animal health and food safety

Current epidemiological situation
  • Figure 1: Calabria protection area (20 km radius)
  • Figure 2: Sicily protection area (20 km radius)
  • Figure 3: Calabria and Sicily monitoring area (100 km radius)

From the Vita Europe blog:
Small Hive Beetle arrives in Europe | Vita Europe
Small Hive Beetle arrives in Europe | Vita Europe
The Small Hive Beetle (SHB), Aethina tumida, damages comb, stored honey and pollen and can be a major threat to the beekeeping economy. The beetles multiply quickly and the larvae tunnel through brood, eating as they go and ultimately wiping out the colony. Once established, it cannot be eradicated.

SHB was spotted in a university bait hive in Italy, in Reggio Calabria, opposite Sicily. Professor Vincent Palmeri of the University of Reggio Calabria said in a report in Apitalia that he found the beetle in three small swarms near the port of Gioia Taura. ..... (read the rest of the article on the Vita Europe website)
From the National Bee Unit, via Beebase, (article shown in full):
September 2014 - Small hive beetle confirmed in Italy On September 11 2014, the Italian National Reference Centre for beekeeping confirmed the first detection of the presence of Small hive beetle (SHB) in South West Italy, in the port city of Gioia Tauro. The samples were taken from a bait trap (similar to the Sentinel Apiaries in the UK) belonging to the University of Gioia Tauro.

Since its discovery, urgent measures are underway to measure the extent of the outbreak, complete tracings (sales and movements of bees from the area) and eradicate and control its spread in line with EU legislation and safeguards. Measures include the destruction of all colonies where the beetle is found and treatment of soil surrounding the land.

Since 2011, there has been a substantial level of imports of package bees and queens from Italy into the UK. The NBU is arranging for further inspection of colonies belonging to these beekeepers, but in the meantime beekeepers are reminded to remain vigilant when checking their colonies and to report any suspicious sightings.

For more information about this exotic pest and the things beekeepers should do are illustrated in the NBU advisory leaflet ‘The Small hive beetle’.

We will update this information as and when we hear more.

In the meantime please see the Q&A below for more information.

SHB Q&A September 2014
It's difficult to keep calm about this news because it doesn't sound too good.

The first time live SHB was found in Europe was in Portugal, in with some queens imported from Texas. Those bees, and those beetles, were quickly destroyed.

The Italian situation is more significant, and perhaps more worrying, because the beetles have been found in sentinel apiaries - which means there are likely to be more beetles in the area and, as mentioned in the Vita article, beekeepers may be wary of reporting possible sightings in case they are blamed for bringing this pest into Europe.

I don't, frankly, care how those little beetles got to Italy, and I don't much care who reports seeing them as long as they just do it!

Italian beekeepers are, surely, sensible enough and vigilant enough to report any sightings so that these pests can be dealt with before it's too late. Failure to do so means that, in the worst case scenario, mainland Europe, and eventually Britain via imported colonies - freely moved around the continent because of our open market policy - will be quickly overrun by these beetles.

And finally ...

If you've found this blog as a result of an internet search for Small Hive Beetle please go to the NBU Beebase site - here - where you will find a page of information and further links.

There is an excellent, and informative, discussion on the Scottish Beekeepers' Forum here

If you believe you have seen Small Hive Beetle in or around your apiary, please remember that it is a notifiable pest. It will not disappear if you ignore it. You should contact the Inspectorate.


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