View Full Version : Small Hive Beetles & Screened Bottom Boards
04-20-2010, 05:12 PM
An observation and question:
I pulled the 4 deep frames of bees out of my observation hive 2 days ago and put them in a 10 frame deep box with a screened bottom board. There may have been 4 SHB in the observation hive. I watched it closely and there just sere not any beetles. Now fast forward 2 days after moving them to a new box and when I took the top off the bees probably had 20 beetles corralled up there. My other hives do not have many beetles in them as yet and they do not have SBB. My question is does a SBB allow the bettles so much better access as the bees canít guard the whole bottom. And does this access allow the beetles to enter the hive in larger numbers? Further is it a problem?
04-20-2010, 05:54 PM
I have never seen SHB go through the #8 screen but it certainly is possible and to be honest its not something I have been specifically looking for. We run all SBB and we see some beetles in our hives but rarely in great numbers. IMO the beetles will get in if they want to SBB or not I have watched them fly right in the front entrance. I'm not convinced the SBB opens up that much greater an opportunity for SHB to enter the hives.
04-20-2010, 07:05 PM
Question in reference to SHB, I also use a SBB and have a plastic board under it coated with Pam to check for mites; today when I pulled the board out there was a small black beetle (maybe less than 1/4" long) was that a SHB or some other type of beetle?? Thanks -- first yr beekeeping -- installed 3-27 -- thought it was a little early to have SHB's but maybe not???
04-20-2010, 07:28 PM
I have never seen SHB go through the #8 screen
I have :eek: the bees chase them into the feeder holes in my observation hive
01-31-2012, 06:52 PM
I have two hives that both seem to have about the same amount of bees in them. One has a solid bottom and the other is screened. I found hive beetles in the one that is screened and none in the solid. I am thinking of going to all solid but you cant find any information on this.
01-31-2012, 07:57 PM
Put an oil tray under your screened bottom boards. Most small hive beetles come in the front door. My entranced are blocked down to an inch on each side year-round. They will never overheat or have a ventilation problem correctly reduced with a screened bottom board.
01-31-2012, 08:27 PM
Question in reference to SHB, ...today when I pulled the board out there was a small black beetle (maybe less than 1/4" long) was that a SHB or some other type of beetle?? Could very well be one.
01-31-2012, 08:32 PM
I put a freeman beetle trap on it and have drastically reduced the population. But I don't know why my other hive has no beetles and it is only 6 feet away. I wonder if when being chased they go through the sbb and come back when the pressure is off. I agree the oil tray does an excellent job but as my hive numbers grow so does the cost of trays, oil, and bottom boards. I really like the freeman trap it really kills the beetles in large numbers but with shipping also kills the wallet. So my thought is to go with either sbb or solid and when i get beetles put the trap on that hive for a while. Are solid bottom boards really that bad? I like the idea of year-round entrance reduction. So you have two one inch gaps on either side of the landing board? Thanks
01-31-2012, 10:14 PM
An observation and question:
I pulled the 4 deep frames of bees out of my observation hive 2 days ago and put them in a 10 frame deep box with a screened bottom board.
There's the most probable reason you have SHB in this hive and not your others. 4 populated frames in a 10 frame box leaving six frames of new space for the bees to protect. Probably not enough bees to protect this extra space. Would've been wise to put them in a 5 frame nuc until it was full and then move to an 8 or 10 frame box. Of course you could just nurse them along until they populate the whole 10 frame box and overcome the problem.
01-31-2012, 11:34 PM
... My entranced are blocked down to an inch on each side year-round...
I made my own reducers from 1 inch thick (really 3/4 inch) scrap boards that are 1 3/4 to 1 7/8 inches wide and as long as the inside dimensions of the hive, either 5, 8, or 10 frames long. I dado a 3 or 4 inches wide by 3/8 inch high front door across the 1 3/4 part. This gives the bees a sort of castle keep or strong point that is 1 3/4 to 1 7/8 inch deep and that every pest must negotiate in the face of overwhelming resistance in order to gain entrance. To my human eyes the take offs and landings looks hectic but I can't tell that the bees mind. I run SBB and while I find SHB almost (well) every time I pop-a-top I do not find many.
02-01-2012, 02:26 AM
Scrapfe...Got a picture for us visual people??? I like the idea of having to negotiate the depth to get in - clever. Why would it make for hectic landings and takeoffs - no hive stand?
02-01-2012, 10:02 AM
This study suggests that a screened bottom neither helps nor hurts.
Bottom screens failed to repel beetles, although their use did not lead to greater beetle populations in test colonies.
Having said that, I see the beetles escape frequently through mine. I also think it makes reproduction easier for them. As a result, I don't like screened bottoms.
I do use them in a number of my hives....but that's a different story.
02-01-2012, 02:59 PM
Has anyone ever tried fly tape to catch the beatles when they fall through the SBB?
02-01-2012, 03:26 PM
I don't think it's so much about preventing them from coming in the hive. They come in the front entrance pretty easily. Once they are in the question is can the bees derive them out. If they have places to hide like under your telescoping cover but above your inner cover or in the far recesses of the under-populated hive. I think they can easily foil the entrance reducer. They'll squeeze under or over, finding a gap to let them in.
02-01-2012, 05:02 PM
Is there a reason for not using #10 or #12 screen (hardware cloth) instead of #8 for SBB and screened inner cover? With a Beetle Jail on the front, I would think that would seriously limit or prevent entry of SHBs. Or is there something else that needs to fall through the holes that would be prevented with smaller holes?
02-01-2012, 05:20 PM
Varroa is why number 8 screen is chosen. Fly tape costs more than a $1.50 aluminum cookie sheet with oil. The cookie sheet covers the whole area too.
02-01-2012, 05:50 PM
But varroa are much smaller than SHBs. I'm wondering about aluminum no-see-um screen from a big box store. I know it's woven, not welded, I wonder if SHBs could (or would bother) to push their way in. Or maybe a double layer of #8?
02-01-2012, 06:22 PM
Scrapfe...Got a picture... I like the idea of [pest] having to negotiate the depth to get in... Why would it make for hectic landings and takeoffs...
No I don't have a pic but I must work on learning how to post them.
It seems you already have the basic idea.
The entrance is reduced to only 3/8 inches high by 3 or 4 inches wide. On a strong hive after build up and during a good flow there are a lot of bees both coming and going and they all must squeeze past each other. The entrance on a standard 8 frame hive is 9.350 square inches. On any size hive with a reducer of this type the opening is only 1 Ĺ square inches.
I sometimes use a hive stand but I think a narrow board (say a 1 X 4) ripped down the middle on the table saw with the blade at what ever angle you want, creates a 1 3/4 inch wide angled landing board. That is more than sufficient once it is nailed or screwed onto the bottom board rails. Remember, a landing board extension of this type is not conducive to moving hives around but it can stay on a statuary hive until the cows come home.
I have seen hives with reducers of this type repel intrusions by bumble bees and hornets and more than a few SHB. I agree however that the most important physical defense is a hive body without ANY cracks, crevices, corners or other places where SHB can hang out to escape the wrath of the house bees. I have never used them but metal frame rests and spacers look to me like a SHB Kindergarten.
02-01-2012, 07:06 PM
Is there a reason for not using #10 or #12 screen ...for SBB...
I would think that the strength of hardware cloth over screen wire is one reason, but I don't know.
Don't use screened inter covers unless you want propolis. They are ok for short term use or while moving hives.
That said I do use window screen over the 4 inch hole in my syrup feeder shims. The reason is that screen wire keeps the SHB below the shims where they are forced to interact with angry bees. I remove the shims when feeding is over so the bees can't propolise the screen. Be forewarned, bees hate light above them. If you leave an empty feed jar, bucket, screened feed shim or screened inter cover on top of the hive for long the bees will propolise up the holes in the feeder tops, or screen wire to shut out the light.
02-01-2012, 09:09 PM
When I started my hive last Spring, I saw maybe 5 SHBs the first couple of times I opened it. I put a Beetle Jail on the front and used a screened inner cover and after the first couple of inspections, have never seen another SHB. It might also help that my hive is on my back deck that is about 12 ft. above the ground, so larvae would have a hard time finding their way back. I have had no propolis on my screened inner cover, but most of the time I had a top feeder on so they wouldn't have been able to get to it.
02-02-2012, 06:10 AM
Fly tape costs more than a $1.50 aluminum cookie sheet with oil.
I don't like the oil part. I am really thinking of a water based adhesive that you would coat the pan with. Something that would be easy to wash off.
Larva don't find their way back. The larva turns into a beetle and that just flies back in the entrance (up to 5 miles away). A deck 12 ft of the ground is no defense.
02-02-2012, 07:19 AM
Thanks for the details, Scrapfe. That helps. Btw, I've been using a screened IC for 3 years now. I do have a bit of propolis along the edge - at most 1/4 inch wide. Less, really. Just my experience to date. Guess if it got bad I could stick it in the freezer and pop it off. :).