Small hive beetle diagnosis and risk management options
Visual inspection of a bee hive or commodity combined with the use of traps is recommended to screen for small hive beetle (SHB) presence. Any observation or result of a screening test suggesting the presence of SHB should be confirmed. Treatments like heating, freezing and/or irradiation can be applied to eradicate SHB from non-living bee products and from used beekeeping equipment, but cannot be applied to living material as these will kill bees and brood along with the SHB. Prevention, control and/or reduction of an SHB infestation in a honey bee hive while keeping the bees and/or brood alive, could be achieved using mechanical control, chemical and biological treatments or applying good beekeeping practices. It is feasible and effective to conduct surveillance in SHB-affected zones and control for pest freedom during transport of commodities and at the place of destination via internationally recognised systems of health certificates. This strongly depends on the delay between the health checks and the departure from the place of origin, because the free-flying pest may infest the bees and/or products between these two steps if adequate precautions are not taken to avoid the infestation. If SHB has been detected very early after its arrival and is not yet widespread, it is recommended applying an eradication approach rigorously and immediately after SHB detection to prevent further spread of the pest since none of the available risk mitigation methods can be applied to fully control the pest outside of managed bee colonies and/or commodities. Implementation of all available methods to prevent, control and reduce SHB infestation is recommended when eradication is considered not to be a feasible option anymore in the considered zone. Screening for the presence of SHB in swarms and feral colonies will inform risk managers on the feasibility to eradicate the pest in the considered zone.