Detection of Aethina tumida Murray (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae.) in Italy: outbreaks and early reaction measures

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Journal of Apicultural Research

Vol. 53 (5) pp. 569-575


December 2014
Article Title

Detection of Aethina tumida Murray (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae.) in Italy: outbreaks and early reaction measures

Franco Mutinelli , Fabrizio Montarsi , Giovanni Federico , Anna Granato , Andrea Maroni Ponti , Gianluca Grandinetti , Nicola Ferrè , Stéphanie Franco , Véronique Duquesne , Marie-Pierre Rivière , Richard Thiéry , Pascal Henrkix , Magali Ribière-Chabert  and Marie-Pierre Chauzat


The first detection of Aethina tumida Murray (the small hive beetle) in Italy occurred on 5 September 2014. Three nuclei containing honey bees (Apis mellifera) andlocated in a clementine (citrus) orchard near an important international harbour in the Calabria region (southern Italy) were heavily infested with adult and larval A. tumida. A. tumida infestation is a notifiable disease of honey bees in the European Union as well as an OIE listed disease. To prevent any A. tumida introduction, the importation of honey bees is regulated strictly in the European Union (Commission Regulation (EU) No. 206/2010). Early reaction measures adopted in Italy require that beekeepers must notify A. tumida discovery to the local veterinary services and cannot move their colonies. Furthermore, a protection area (20 km radius) and surveillance (100 km radius) zone should be established. The surveillance zone now includes the entire territory of Calabria region. Compulsory visits to all apiaries in the protection zone with the collection of the spatial information by means of a georeferentiation process (georeferentiation can be defined as the process to describe a location relative to the earth, in this context the process consists on the collection of the spatial coordinate of a point that represents the spatial location of the apiaries by means of a GPS device) and colony inspection according to 5% expected prevalence (95% CI) are applied. Destruction of infested apiaries is compulsory and the soil under the infested colonies must be ploughed and treated with pyrethroids. If apiaries in the protection zone are found to be negative, traps are placed. In the surveillance zone, veterinarians visit apiaries that are selected according to a risk analysis (migration in infested areas, honey bee or materials exchange) or randomly and colonies are inspected according to 2% expected prevalence (95% CI). Furthermore, in Italy as well in the rest of Europe, investigations are in progress by competent authorities to make an inventory of all bees and colonies moved from Calabria during 2014. Subsequent controls on colonies should be implemented. People from the honey bee network (beekeepers, veterinarians, beekeeping material producers and distributors) should be aware and informed of the hazard posed by A. tumida to honey bees.


Aethina tumida, European Union, exotic pest, honey bee, Italy, notifiable disease, OIE
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