Jim and all,
You said something about "looking closely" at packages coming from the Southeast, because they may have beetles with them. I've got some coming from Alabama through Betterbee(10). What is your best advice? Anybodys best advice?
I wonder what would happen if I put a package in the freezer overnight. I guess the beetles really can hide in the packaging?
[This message has been edited by dickm (edited March 18, 2004).]
I'm sure you mean after hiving the bees. I don't know enough about SHB to know if they can hide somewhere in with the bees. Even if they are in the corner of the package, how would you keep them from getting dumped into the hive?
Question 1 would be "where's the producer?". Here's a map to help
locate the producer against where SHB have been found.
Clearly 'bama has had far fewer SHB problems than Georgia.
If question 1 raises latent concern, the second question would be
to ask the producer what tangible steps have been taken to protect
your shipment. About the only choice here would be to ship with
the smaller CheckMite strips in each package, a "solution" that may
be almost as bad as the "problem".
The suggested disassembly of packages is a "statistical sample" hoped
to reveal evidence of SHB in the nooks and crannies where wood is
joined to wood, even if the SHB moved into the hives with the bees.
If you see any discoloration, you know that a bee could not have
squeezed into such a tight crack, and you have a clue to go look
at the hive that received the package.
SHB poop is blackish/brownish. Bee poop is only brownish when they
are very very sick. I'd look for dark-colored stuff and dark-colored
Given all the nasty stuff you'd rather not have, it might become
more fashionable to order only queens from producers, and buy a
split of bees (without a queen) from a nearby buddy. Easy to
inspect a queen cage and a few bees for just about everything one
might be able to see with the naked eye.
That was helpful. Incidently, a CT insect guy at our CT Experimental Extension Station didn't think we'd ever get too bad with the beetle because we don't have much sandy soil. Some were found in 1 area of the state last year. I guess no one wants to comment on putting a package of bees in the freezer.(Freezing kills the Beetle). I'm only half-serious but I can't help wondering what would happen. Don't know if I want to bet $60 to find out.
I'm guessing the beetles will climb into the cluster to stay warm, but who knows. Does anyone know if they survive the winter with the cluster?
I wouldn't try the freezer.
I have no doubt that the beetles would move into the cluster to keep warm. Also, at one of our bee meetings, the state apiarist mentioned that he froze some beetles to test their survivability. He claimed that they survived over 8 hours of sub-freezing temps - with no bee cluster present! Not sure I'd subject my new package to those conditions.
Don't think freezing is going to be the answer. jfischer probably had the best advice - try to avoid packages coming from known infected regions.
>Does anyone know if they survive the winter with the cluster?
Can't say for sure, but I do know that I saw them during my first inspection of the year. We had several days of well below freezing this winter. Of course, they may have come out of the ground, but my sense is that they were there in the cluster. Not much real evidence to support this claim, but I frequently observe beetles deep down inside empty cells and there's nothing the bees can do to pull them out. One could then assume that if the beetle chooses his cell to be inside the cluster then he will surely survive.
the beetle itself readily survives the winter in the hive.
I am in Alabama, and our state inspector was at last week's meeting. He showed us a graph of the rise and fall of bee pests/diseases. and yes, SMB is what he expects to be our next major issue here as it is on the rise. The clay soil was discussed as a possible deterant here in northern Alabama.
As for treating, here is his input: there is a SHB trap (I think I saw it in Dadant's cataloge) that works like a screened bottom but with oil under it to drawn the larvae or adults that fall. SHB larvae will exit through very small openings to reach the soil to pupate, so keep a tight hive. If you are going to chemically treat around your hive, this will help as you only have to treat outside the entrance. If you have an open-bottom hive, you'll have to treat under the whole thing, or put down a barrier and treat around the barrier.
Chickens and guinneas were discussed as non-chemical methods of control.
I just read Kurt Bowers' March 18 post on the swarm catching thread. He mentioned... well read it yourself. http://www.beesource.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/001312.html
Looks like useful info
It seems like you are co-existing with the beetle. What's it like to do that in real life? I went to a workshop on the subject and came away feeling that it wasn't as bad as my nightmares. 2 things that help: extract quickly and don't open the hives any more than you need to. Opening the hives seems to make them breed like crazy! Checkmite (ugh) and Groundstar in the dirt around the hive are the only recourses.