1. Introduction

Aethina tumida (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) was named and described in 1867 by Andrew Dickson Murray in the Annals and Magazine of Natural History London (Murray, 1867). He received two specimens originating from Old Calabar, on the west coast of Africa. Small hive beetles (SHB) are parasites and scavengers of honey bee and other social bee colonies native to sub-Saharan Africa, where they are considered to usually be a minor pest only (Lundie, 1940; Schmolke, 1974; Hepburn and Radloff, 1998; Neumann and Elzen, 2004; Neumann and Ellis, 2008). In 1996, SHB were discovered outside of their native range in colonies of European subspecies of honey bees in the southeastern USA (Elzen et al., 1999; Hood, 2004). Since then, SHB introductions have been reported from a number of other countries (Neumann and Elzen, 2004; Ellis and Munn, 2005; Neumann and Ellis, 2008). In these new ranges, the beetles can be harmful parasites of colonies of European honey bee subspecies (Elzen et al., 1999; Hood, 2004) and may also damage colonies of non-Apis bees such as bumble bees and stingless bees (Spiewok and Neumann, 2006a; Hoffmann et al., 2008; Greco et al., 2010; Halcroft et al., 2011). Very rapidly after A. tumida established populations outside of its endemic range, the devastating effects of this beetle on honey bee colonies (given suitable climatic and soil conditions, Ellis et al., 2004c) resulted in an active research effort to better understand and control this pest. Over a decade, A. tumida has spread and established almost over the entire USA and across the east coast of Australia (Neumann and Ellis, 2008). Although comparatively few laboratories have worked with this organism, a range of different research methods emerged. Here we provide an overview on methods in the field and in the laboratory for experimental essays of A. tumida, which we hope will be embraced as standards by the community when designing and performing research on SHB.