Aethina tumida (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae - Small Hive Beetle - SHB), is a parasite of honey bee colonies that causes the notifiable disease called aethinosis. In 2014, SHB was detected in Southern Italy, where it is still present (Calabria region). As part of surveillance activities, official diagnosis of the disease is performed by veterinary services via visual inspection of single hives in the apiaries. New outbreaks can be eradicated and the spread of SHBs limited by early detection of new introductions. We report an alternative protocol for the diagnosis of SHB through swabs and hive debris analysis by PCR. This was tested in three apiaries through the evaluation of different SHB infestation levels with a hive inspection method. This approach for sampling, followed by biomolecular methods, was fast and useful in unfavorable conditions (bad weather, aggressiveness, robbing), could be integrated in the official diagnosis procedures and may act as pre-clinic indicator.
- Aethina tumida
- hive debris