The small hive beetle (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 the Apitalia online magazine that he found the beetle in three small swarms near the port of Gioia Tauro.
Professor Palmeri expressed his concern about the possible spread of the pest throughout country because migratory beekeeping is common in that part of southern Italy. He has urged beekeepers to be on high alert. He does not discount the possibility that SHB may already be widespread spread in southern Italy and that beekeepers may be fearful of reporting it.
Since its discovery on September 11, urgent measures have been underway to determine the extent of the outbreak and control its spread in line with EU legislation and safeguards. The EU Reference Laboratory (EURL) for honeybee health (Laboratory of Anses-Sophia Antipolis) reports that the apiary at the site of detection was destroyed and the soil treated with insecticides. Measures also include inspections in all apiaries within a radius of 20 km from the place of the event.
In the EU, the small hive beetle is classified as a notifiable disease by Directive 92/65 / EEC (Appendix A). Upon discovery of the small hive beetle larvae or adults, destruction and removal of the entire apiary is recommended. A EURL leaflet for the diagnosis of infection with SHB (Aethina tumida) is available in English.
The small hive beetle is an invasive species originating from Africa and has proved to be a serious pest of honeybee hives in the USA (since 1996) and Australia (since 2002), where it spread rapidly through migratory beekeeping.
Updated news on the infestation.