Quo vadis Aethina tumida? Biology and control of small hive beetles
Small hive beetles (SHBs) are generalists native to sub-Saharan Africa and reproduce in association with honeybees, bumblebees, stingless bees, fruits and meat. The SHB has recently become an invasive species, and introductions have been recorded from America, Australia, Europe and Asia since 1996. While SHBs are usually considered a minor pest in Africa, they can cause significant damage to social bee colonies in their new ranges. Potential reasons for differential impact include differences in bee behaviour, climate and release from natural enemies. Here, we provide an overview on biology, distribution, pest status, diagnosis, control and prevention to foster adequate mitigation and stimulate future research. SHBs have become a global threat to both apiculture and wild bee populations, but our knowledge of this pest is still limited, creating demand for more research in all areas of its biology.