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Small Hive Beetle Threatening Honey Industry in Belize

The small hive beetle, Aethina tumida, a scavenger and parasite of honey bee colonies has been reported in northern Belize. The authorities believe that the incursion of the small hive beetle into northern Belize is due to the illegal trade of Honey Bee products, equipment and materials.  Both adult and larval beetles feed on larvae, pollen, honey and bee brood. The adult female also lays her eggs in the hive. The larvae hatch and feed on brood, pollen and honey, then leave the hive to pupate in the soil, where the adults hatch, then fly to look for new hives. Spread can therefore be rapid, as the adults have a range of approximately 13 kilometers. When infestation is heavy, the bees may desert the hive.  The Ministry of Agriculture in coordination with Belize Agriculture Health Authority (BAHA) and OIRSA are providing support to beekeepers in order to control this devastating pest. Beekeepers are advised to call the Ministry of Agriculture’s Mario Howe at 626-6059 or BAHA’s Dr. Joe Myers at 601-6890 for further information because a good management by beekeepers is necessary to protect their hive against the pest.