Small Hive Beetle

​​​​The Small Hive Beetle, Aethina tumida (Murray), was discovered in hives at Richmond, New South Wales in late October 2002. It has subsequently been found in all Australian States except Western Australia and Tasmania. Prior to this date the Small Hive Beetle was not known to exist in Australia.

Colour photograph showing a close up of the small hive beetle larva.
Small hive beetle larva
Division of Plant Industry,
University of Florida

Colour photograph of Aethina tumida, adult dorsal view (thumbnail).
Small hive beetle - adult dorsal view

(Click on the image to see a larger version)
Copyright: Jeffrey Lotz, Division of Plant Industry,
Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services

The adult Small Hive Beetle are broad flattened beetles about 5-7 mm long and dark brown to nearly black in colour. Larvae are elongate white grubs. Pupae are white to brown and are found in soil beneath the hive. From egg to adult takes 38-81 days with five generations a year. Adults and larvae inhabit hives where they feed on stored honey and pollen. Combs are damaged and brood killed; honey ferments and bubbles out of the cells. Damage is so severe where this pest occurs in the Western Hemisphere that thousands of hives are killed by it each year.

All beekeepers should inspect their hives for the presence of these beetles on a regular basis. There are species of native beetles that are similar to the Small Hive Beetle. If you are not certain what kind of beetle you have found, submit a sample. Details on how to collect samples, where to send them to and photographs of the beetle and larvae can be found on the Small Hive Beetle Surveillance web page.

Further information on the Small Hive Beetle can be sourced on the 'BeeAware' webpage (now the go-to pest and disease reference site).

Also see the following related link:
Embargo on Beekeeping Equipment


Senior Biosecurity Officer (Apiary Biosecurity)
Julie Lupia
Biosecurity Operations Branch
Biosecurity Tasmania
13 St. Johns Avenue
New Town TAS 7008
Mobile: 0467 805 968