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Scientific Opinion on the risk of entry of Aethina tumida and Tropilaelaps spp. in the EU

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Small hive beetle (SHB) and Tropilaelaps are bee diseases considered exotic in the EU. SHBis a flying coleopteran that can be attracted to the odours of bees and bee products. In addition, SHB can survive and reproduce on a variety of ripe fruits. Tropilaelaps is an ectoparasite that does not survive long without honey bee brood and cannot fly by itself. The methodology used to assess the risk of entry of these pests in this scientific opinion was adapted from a pest risk assessment for entry used in the field of plant health. A qualitative risk assessment was performed taking into account current legislation but excluding the implementation of risk reduction options. This approach allowed the assessment of the worst case scenario for each risk factor. The risk pathways with a high risk of pest entry are ‘import of bee products (use in apiculture)’ for SHB and ‘accidental import of bees’ (unintended presence of bees in a non-bee consignment) for both pests. The other risk pathways are associated with a moderate or low risk of SHB or Tropilaelaps entry into the risk assessment area. Risk reduction options were assessed separately from the risk assessment. Examples of risk reduction options with a high effectiveness and a high technical feasibility are the use of health certificates to guarantee pest freedom of consignments and keeping consignments without honey bee brood. Options with a high effectiveness and technical feasibility were identified in all risk pathways except ‘accidental import of bees’ and ‘dispersal of the pest via natural means and/or flight’. The AHAW Panel identified the need for validated rapid detection methods and for handling and sampling of imported bees in insect-proof environments. Education and training could help to monitor the pest distribution and to prevent pest entry by improving awareness, skills and expertise.