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Beekeepers in the Maritimes are on alert after the discovery of an invasive species that can destroy beehives.

The Small Hive Beetle, which is native to Sub-Saharan Africa, has been spreading in North America and was recently discovered in northern New Brunswick near the border with Nova Scotia.

It is believed that the beetles may have arrived in the Maritimes in a shipment of hives from Ontario, where the beetle was first spotted in 2010. The beetle has also been found across the border in Maine. A bee hive in New Brunswick Walter Bockus, a beekeeper located near Saint Stephen, N.B., said the beetles can “mess up the honey and then it goes rancid and the whole hive is done.”

The implications go far beyond honey because bees pollinate crops that humans consume.

“If you don’t have them, we’re going to be in trouble,” Bockus said.

New Brunswick Minister of Agriculture Rick Doucet said there is “a lot at stake for the agriculture industry” so he’s trying to “get out in front of it.”

Beekeepers are required to report sightings to the provincial authorities, who may order hives be quarantined.

Bockus is trying to be proactive by placing a trap inside his hives known as a “beetle blaster” that he hopes will keep them safe.

With a report from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron

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