Today the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) issued its fourth advisory on the presence of small hive beetle in Belize. According to the release, the small hive beetle is a scavenger and parasite of honey bee colonies and was introduced to Belize in 2016 mainly by commercial movement of bees.
According to BAHA, the small hive beetle has been recently detected in northern Belize and it is highly suspected that its introduction is due to the illegal trade of Honey Bee products, equipment and materials.
The small hive beetle is considered a minor pest in its home range; however, BAHA is advising that they can become a major problem in introduced areas and in heavy infected areas, bees may dessert the hive. Bee keepers are therefore advised that the most effective control against small hive beetle is maintaining colony strength, coupled with minimizing empty frames of comb, reducing small hive beetle population with the placement of traps containing a broad-spectrum insecticide only accessible by the small hive beetle and to discontinue the illegal importation of Honey Bee products, equipment and materials. The diagnosis is made by identifying adult beetles in the hive.
Bee keepers are also reminded that the Ministry of Agriculture in coordination with BAHA and OIRSA will continue providing support to beekeepers in the control of this devastating pest.
Beekeepers are advised to contact Mario Howe of The Ministry of Agriculture at phone number 626-6059or Dr. Joe Myers at 601-6890 for any further information