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Abstract

The beekeeping industry in the Western Hemisphere has faced several major challenges in recent years, namely, bee mites, Africanized bees, and chemical pesticides. The newest threat is the small hive beetle, Aethina tumida, Murray, which was first reported in die USA in St. Lucie County, Florida, in June of 1998. It is a member of the beetle family, Nitidulidae, commonly known as "sap beetles." Within less than a year, it had been reported in four southern states, namely, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, and recently six more states have been added to die list. Its origin is believed to be in South Africa where it is considered a secondary pest. In the USA, however, the insect appears to be developing into a potential significant pest. The adults and larvae feed on honey and pollen in the beehive. The larvae burrow through the combs and defecate in them causing die honey to ferment and even leak out of the combs. The odor is reportedly similar to that of decaying oranges. Research is needed to explore effective control measures. One important consideration is that the larvae leave the beehive to pupate in the soil.

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