Dr. Max Beier “The book scorpion, a welcome guest of the bee colonies”

Translated by David Heaf from “Der Bücherskorpion, ein willkommener Gast der Bienenvölker.” Österreichischer Imker Bd. 1, 1951, S. 209–211.

Among the many more or less welcome, mostly even unwanted guests in bee hives, the book scorpion or Chelifer canroides, leads a very humble and – unjustly, as we shall see – little- noticed existence. This is because the barely 3mm large, eight-legged, Arachnid pincer-bearer, can easily hide its oval, flattish body in the smallest cracks and crevices of wooden structures, which this light-shy creature likes to do at every opportunity. So beekeepers rarely see them, although certainly almost every bee house shelters several of these creatures. For the book scorpion is distributed almost globally, where in warmer regions it is a typical bark-dweller. For its habitation it exhibits a preference for warm, dry localities, especially in the rougher areas of human dwellings, stables, barns and even hives, where it is protected from the rigours of the weather. As a companion of humans it has been able to spread in this way northwards to Britain, southernScandinavia and northern Russia, i.e. into climates which would certainly not allow it to live in the open. Here it is often a useful roommate because it is a predator not only on dust mites on our bookshelves – henceits name – but also a hunter of annoying bed bugs. It was even found on lice-ridden childrens’ heads where it no doubt preyed on the biting crawlers…

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