In the latest issue of the journal Nature (one of the most reputed scientific journals in the world) a small note is published on the SHB. Here it is. There is nothing special about it, other than the fact that this journal is publishing this. It is rare that they would pay attention to such an issue.
Nature 423, 793 (19 June 2003)
Hive beetle causes a buzz in Europe
PHILIPP GRAF [MUNICH]
Unwelcome guest: the beetle Aethina tumida has destroyed thousands of US honeybee colonies.
A new predator could be set to sweep through central Europe's beehives ? and angry bee-keepers are asking the European Union to keep it at bay by banning all honeybee imports.
The parasite in question ? a small hive beetle ? has destroyed thousands of honeybee colonies in the United States over the past five years. Now bee-keepers fear it could find its way to Europe, compounding problems caused by the Varroa destructor mite, which wiped out one-third of Europe's bee colonies last winter.
Larvae of the beetle, Aethina tumida, which is thought to originate in South Africa, tunnel through honeycombs and kill bee larvae. Infested colonies that do not die often leave their hives. The beetle is hard to eradicate, as it is very mobile and can live in wild bee or bumble-bee colonies, which potentially serve as a natural reservoir.
Since its first identification in Florida in 1998, the beetle has spread rapidly. It has also appeared in Egypt and Australia.
European bee-keepers have been importing queen bees and colonies from the United States and Australia to resupply their colonies after the Varroa attack. But this "poses a high risk for bringing in the beetles", says Jeff Pettis, an entomologist at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Maryland.
German bee-keepers campaigning for an import ban claim that four times as many bee colonies as normal could be imported into Germany this year because of the mite pest losses. And France is drafting legislation for a complete ban on bee imports from affected countries.
Britain already restricts bee imports to queens brought from New Zealand and Hawaii. Now campaigners have won the backing of the German government for a Europe-wide ban on bee imports. A European Commission working group will discuss the proposal in Brussels on 24 June.
I would imagine that SHB will spread all over the states eventually. I think that the map link above is good..... keep in mind that they are most established in the Southeast but they travel anywhere that bees get moved. So generally speaking if you are east of the mississipi and bees are brought into your area, you could easily have them. They are more than happy to hitch hike on a semi load. It has become a joke up here in the spring, that when the tarps get pulled to unload the trucks, more beetles fly than bees.
They definately focus on weaker colonies----dead equipment is a favorite, nucs are about next on the list, singles, etc. I know that they are in my colonies right this second but I havent seen any since April....those were adult beetles which overwintered in the hives. The larvae doesnt seem to survive the winter so the life cycle gets interrupted for at least some of the year up here until the ground warms again.
I have not personally seen them hurt an established colony. But I have seen them completely take over colonies which were hit hard by the spray plane. They seem to be the biggest nuisance in and around the honey house.