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Investigation into Potential Control Measures for Small Hive Beetle - PH0513

Small hive beetle (SHB) (Aethina tumida) remains a real and viable threat to UK and European bee keeping. Though not present on the continent of Europe as yet, bee keepers and relevant government organizations must be ready in whatever capacity they can to deal with an arrival of or an outbreak of the beetle within their given jurisdiction.

Currently the Fera Bee Health and Policy Programme have in place a contingency plan to deal with any incursions of SHB into England and Wales. However, firm measures to be taken in practical eradication/control techniques are lacking. Several products, currently used elsewhere in the world are not registered for use within the UK or indeed a European context. Therefore, there is an urgent need for information on what potential products (chemical or biological) could possibly be used to treat a SHB incursion into the UK.

The SHB lifecycle consists of a pupation stage that occurs outside the beehive in the surrounding soil. Both larvae and pupae can be found in the soil. Therefore, there is an opportunity for control measures to be applied at this stage that will not have any impact upon the bees in the hive. The current project has two main aims: 1) to further investigate the potential use of commercially available entomopathogenic nematodes as soil drenches, and 2) to investigate and determine the possibility of using chemical drenches for the control of SHB in the soil, bearing in mind all the UK regulatory requirements.

The outcome of the work will help determine what soil treatments could be applied in the event of an SHB incursion and establishment in the UK. The work will feed into the current contingency plan for dealing with SHB. It will also support the work of the Healthy Bees Plan.
1) Establish a project steering group which upon regular meeting will discuss research advancement and convey results obtained.
2) Continue to maintain the live culture of SHB within the secure insect quarantine unit at Fera.
3) Review the literature to assess potential efficacy of chemical products currently used as soil drenches. Select appropriate ones for investigation under UK conditions.
4) Further investigate the use of entomopathogenic nematodes for management of SHB in the UK.
5) Determine compatibility of nematodes with selected chemical soil drenches, both directly and indirectly.
6) Investigate the development of SHB in lime treated soil.
7) Investigate the potential of CheckMite to kill SHB adults.
8) Utilize project findings to determine a potential soil treatment programme for the control of SHB larvae.
9) Disseminate the information gained to stakeholders, bee keepers and inspectors.
Project Documents
• EVID4 - Final project report : evid4 PH0513 revised   (615k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2012

To: 2013

Cost: £42,708
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Bee Diseases              
Bee Pests              
Fields of Study
Plant Health