Small Hive Beetle confirmed in Italy: last week, the 12th of September 2014, the Italian Council for Research and Experimentation in Agriculture announced the finding of SHB - the small hive beetle (Aethina tumida) - in a nucleus hive used as "bait" in the town of Gioia Tauro in Sovereto, Region of Calabria in Southern Italy. The Italian Ministry of Health has taken the first steps of alarm, with controls in all apiaries within a radius of 20 km and in the tracing and control of all apiaries that have nomadism in the area at risk. While endemic to sub-saharan Africa and spread to North America and Australia in the late 90ies, Europe was believed to be free of SHB.

The Italian Ministry of Health has also released national measures for the surveillance and eventual eradication of the parasite, a team of international experts is yet working to assist the local authorities in the control of the SHB. All beekeepers who suspect their colonies infested have to inform the appropriate authorities in their Member States. This was already decided in 2013 under the European Commission Regulation (EC) No 1398/2003 (source: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-03-1711_en.htm?locale=en). In case of doubt, in addition to the report to the local veterinary service, you should immediately contact the service SPIA BeeNet (link: reporting form to BeeNet , BeeNet phone: 051 361 466).

Prof. Vincent Palmeri of the University of Reggio Calabria, author of the discovery and identification of the exotic pest SHB, warned the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry to activate the necessary procedures to limit and eradicate any further other outbreaks and prevent the spread of the pest throughout the country.

As SHB became a considerable threat, BeeVital will follow on the developement and investigate possible solutions to the SHB. We will keep you updated. If you have new information on the SHB developement please share this information with us via our contact form. Thank you !

Read more in the article of the Unione Nazionale Assciazioni Apicoltori Italiani (italian language).

(Photo: James D. Ellis, University of Florida / © Bugwood.org / CC-BY-3.0-US, via Wikimedia Commons)