BERN, SWITZERLAND – Swiss honey bees are under threat from a small beehive beetle that feeds on their larvae and honey, which is making its way north. The Swiss government Wednesday declared battle with the beetle, issuing a series of guidelines that make it illegal to import used material, hives or honey for hives from Italy, as well as raw honey and, from Sicily and Calabria, shop-ready honey.
The beetle, once in a hive, cannot be dislodged, say agriculture office authorities, and it can destroy the hive. The insect is naturally working its way north, and the European Union earlier took measures to fight it, with Switzerland following suit.
The additional, tougher controls go into effect 15 April, at the start of the honeybee season, and include obligatory checks for beetles in the hives by beekeepers throughout the country.