Small Hive Beetle

​​​​​​​​​​​Key messages

The following are effective from Monday 22 April 2024:

  • ​​Biosecurity Tasmania’s small hive beetle emergency response has been declared successful. The response is no longer ongoing and response activities have ceased.

  • The General Biosecurity Direction (small hive beetle) as declared by Tasmania’s Chief Plant Protection Officer in March 2023 has been revoked.

  • The Bee Movement Restriction Area (BMRA) declared in the General Biosecurity Direction (small hive beetle) has been revoked. The associated movement restrictions for bees, bee products and used beekeeping equipment are no longer in place in the East Devonport area.

  • Biosecurity Tasmania will continue to monitor guard and sentinel beehives across the state for small hive beetle as part of the National Bee Pest surveillance program.

  • All Tasmanian beekeepers are asked to remain vigilant for any sign of pests or disease and report anything unusual to Biosecurity Tasmania on (03) 6165 3777 or honeybee.biosecurity@nre.tas.gov.au​

Small hive beetle emergency response

Effective from 22 April 2024, response activities have ceased. The General Biosecurity Direction (small hive beetle) and associated BMRA have been revoked.

​You can view the revocation below.

Following the detection of small hive beetle in the East Devonport area in March 2023, Biosecurity Tasmania quickly responded, working alongside beekeepers, industry and the community to protect the health of Tasmania’s bee population as well as our honey and pollination sectors. 

In March 2023, Tasmania's Chief Plant Protection Officer declared a General Biosecurity Direction (small hive beetle), which established a Bee Movement Restriction Area (BMRA) around the detection site and restricted the movement of bees, bee products and used beekeeping equipment within, into and out of the area.

Following extensive surveillance activities, including thousands of beehive and trap inspections, effective from 22 April 2024, the General Biosecurity Direction (small hive beetle) and the associated BMRA have been revoked.​

​Compulsory beekeeper registration

Registrati​on is now compulsory for all current Tasmanian commercial and recreational beekeepers. Registration is one of the best measures to prevent the spread of unwanted pests and diseases as it allows Biosecurity Tasmania to readily trace and contact beekeepers in the event of an incursion.

Current Tasmanian beekeepers must register with Biosecurity Tasmania. Beekeepers who previously registered voluntarily with Biosecurity Tasmania will need to re-register with the new system. Previous registration will not be automatically transferred.​

Penalties may apply for failing to register if you currently keep bees either commercially or recreationally. There is no cost to register, and registration will remain free until 31 March 2025.​

For more information or to register visit www.nre.tas.gov.au/beekeeper-registration​.​


Small hive beetle

Prior to 2022 SHB was not known to exist in Australia. It is now present throughout Qld, Vic, the ACT and in parts of SA and WA.​​

In its larvae stage, SHB burrows into beehives consuming brood, pollen and honey, which can significantly damage the beehive population and honey production.

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


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


Adult SHB are broad flattened beetles about 5-7 mm long and are 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. Stages 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, damaging combs and killing broods. Honey ferments and bubbles out of the cells. The damage caused by SHB in the Western Hemisphere is so severe that thousands of hives are killed by it each year. ​

Also also:
Rules for Moving Bees, Apiary Products and Used Apiary Equipment​


Contact

Biosecurity Enquiries