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Exotic pests

This section looks at two exotic pests which, although not yet present in the UK, would pose a significant threat to honeybee colonies should they arrive:

  • the Small Hive Beetle Aethina tumida. An invasive species originating from Africa which has proved to be a serious pest of honeybee colonies around the world; and
  • Tropilaelaps mites. These mites have spread significantly in recent years from their natural home in tropical and sub-tropical zones of Asia and are considered to be a serious threat to the Western honeybee Apis mellifera.

The risk these two exotic pests could pose to honeybee colonies is recognized in the Bee Diseases and Pests Control Orders (see our Bees and the Law section) which makes them both statutory notifiable pests. This means that the law requires that any beekeeper or person in charge of a hive who knows or even suspects that one of these two pests is present in or near their hives must notify the National Bee Unit immediately.