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Jorge Rivera-Gomis, Ales Gregorc, Andrea Maroni Ponti, Francesco Artese, Gertruida Zowitsky and Giovanni Formato

Abstract

The Small Hive Beetle (SHB), Aethina tumida, is an invasive pest of honey bee colonies that causes significant damage to the beekeeping sector. SHB was detected in southern Italy (EU) in 2014 and despite adopted eradication measures, is still present there. After three years of observations of SHB in Calabria (2014-2016), we provide here some practical tips for improving control measures. A new time-saving colony examination method, including the use of an internal divider reduced the time needed for hive inspections by 31.86 % on average. Prioritizating the inspection of pollen and honey combs rather than brood combs is advised. Sentinel apiaries with no more than five colonies without supers are suggested for each beekeeping location in order to attract and to monitor the early appearance of SHB. The use of these methods will enable early detection and prompt control measures application before this destructive pest can spread in the region.