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 that in all apiaries where the beetle is found colonies are destroyed and all soil surrounding the land is ploughed in and treated with a soil drench.
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.
Mike Brown and Gay Marris are attending the EURL Honey Bee meeting in France next week where the Small hive beetle will be discussed extensively. For more information about this exotic pest and the things beekeepers should do are illustrated in the NBU advisory leaflet ‘The Small hive beetle’. Please see the NBU website for more details:https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/beebase/
We will update this information as and when we hear more.