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Food Safety

Small hive beetle outbreaks

Small hive beetle (Aethina tumida, SHB) infestation has been compulsorily notifiable in the EU for many years. It continues to be so, pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2016/429 and Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1882. All beekeepers who suspect that their colonies are infested with small hive beetle need to inform the competent veterinary authorities in their countries as required by Article 18 of Regulation (EU) 2016/429. It is also of outmost importance that beekeepers and traders strictly comply with the relevant trade and import rules.

In the Union, SHB were detected for the first time in the Calabria region of Italy in early September 2014 and it continues to be reported from there. Two individual outbreaks occurred in Sicily (Italy) in 2014 and in 2019, respectively. SHB has not occurred in other parts (the vast majority) of the Union. The Commission adopted Decision 2014/909/EU in late 2014, to prevent unnecessary disturbance to trade within the Union and to avoid unjustified barriers to trade being imposed by third countries, as well as to prevent the spread of the small hive beetle from the affected region(s) of Italy to other parts of it and of the Union. That Decision applied until 21 April 2021. From that date Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/597 applies.

For further information, please see the relevant Italian page and/or those of the EU bee health reference laboratory, where under the tab "Free access document", visual material is also available to recognise SHB, as well as guidelines on how to conduct active surveillance for SHB.

The European Food Safety Authority published its scientific report on SHB diagnosis and management options on 17 March 2015, in response to a request from the European Commission for technical assistance on this matter. A comprehensive scientific opinion was published on 15 December 2015.

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