• Small hive beetles are oval in shape, 5 to 7 mm long and 3 to 4.5 mm wide and reddish brown in colour, but change to dark brown or black as they mature.
  • They have distinctive club shaped antennae and produce larvae with characteristic rows of spines on the back and 3 pairs of legs near the head.
  • Image Courtesy The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), Crown Copyright

Signs of small hive beetle in a colony include:

  • small black beetles running around the comb or hiding in small dark crevices of the hive
  • larvae burrowing through the brood combs, consuming brood and stores
  • larvae clumping together in corners of frames or combs cells
  • clusters of small ‘rice grain’ eggs in cracks and crevices of the hive
  • honey fermenting and dripping out of cells
  • combs becoming slimy or smelling of rotten oranges

If you suspect small hive beetle is present within your colonies you must:

  • contact the NBU office or your local bee inspector immediately
  • not remove any colonies, equipment or honey from the site until approved to do so by the NBU

The small hive beetle is not thought to be present in the UK. Import regulations are the main defence against its introduction.