Small Hive Beetle



Small Hive Beetle, Aethina tumida has been detected in Freeborn County MN. by Blane White, Apiary Inspector with Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Identification was confirmed by Jeff Pettis, ARS, Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, MD. This is a ne w state record for Small Hive Beetle in Minnesota. Blane White reported that the adult over wintered in the colony where it was found.

Just a few concerns I would like to raise about the research you quoted: You mention the possibility of treating ground near the hives with a poison - I have spent much time watching hives with hive beetle infestations at various points. They do not cause a major problem here, but I know for a fact that often the bees cannot kill the larvae and instead carry them out of the hive as they would a dead bee. They then carry them quite a distance and drop them - sometimes up to 50m - this is a large area to treat. The beetles will lay on fruit yes, especially strawberries I think, so see if badly affected areas correlate with strawberry regions? You mention that it is a tropical organism in it's south african homeland. South Africa is actually largely non-tropical, actually the closest we come is a bit of sub-tropical. The beetle survives in many areas, including the nearby Amatola mountains which for many weeks have snow lying around the hives, and almost zero brood rearing activity. It also survives in the southern cape which climatically is about the same as mid california. The beetles can also track swarms. I have also noted in some official reports the mention that the beetles eat pollen and honey, but little mention is made of brood. Their favourite food is brood - disturbed bees don't guard the brood nest and the beetles sneak a few eggs in (few hundred) and the larvae tunnel beneath the cappings, hence the bees incubate the beetles unwittingly. This can be detected by the greasy blackish red of the cappings. After a while the number of beetle larvae generates so much heat the structure of the comb collapses - at this point the bees may abscond (I have only ever seen this in nucs that I made with comb included form bee removals.) Hence in my opinion for african bees at least, they can survive alongside beetles as long as the beetles are not given a chance to enter the brood nest. If they get such a chance, then they become a problem. For package bee production, beetles can be easily removed from the packages by smoking them - they leave much faster than bees when smoking - I often see this in wild hives, which interestingly always have far fewer beetles than commercial ones. Another thing to consider is the beetles can live reportedly for up to six months (I would say closer to 4) so much of the US can support them.

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