Small Hive Beetle
A notifiable pest, the Small Hive Beetle (SHB) (Aethina tumida) (Murray) belongs to a family of scavenger beetles known as the Nitidulidae. It is indigenous to Africa (where it is a minor pest as native African bees have natural defences) but has now been found in places such as Australia, Canada and the USA and we must now assume that the SHB could spread to Europe and that it is likely to prove as harmful here as in Australia and the USA. The beetle mainly lives and breeds on its primary host the honey bee - in colonies, stored comb and beekeeping equipment, but it can also survive and reproduce on certain types of fruit, particularly melons. The beetles multiply to huge numbers, their larvae tunnel through comb to eat brood, ruin stored honey, and ultimately destroy infested colonies or cause them to abscond.