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  1. #1
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    Dec 2004
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    Hello,

    Here in europe, there is a lot of questions about the SHB on the beekeeper's forum since the portugese episode (but also in france). So, I would like to ask you to make me a small summary concerning the situation of the SHB un USA. Does it cause a lot of problems???What kinds of technics do you use to decrease the impact of the SHB on hives, what kind of treatments....

    I must say that I'm a little bit supprise who low are the number of topics on SHB on this forum regarding the number of topics on varroa. Is the SHB a 'mild' pest???

    thanks

    Renaud http://www.fundp.ac.be/~jvandyck/hom...d_RL_2004.html

  2. #2
    jfischer Guest

    Post

    I'm still wondering how a shipment of live
    bees got past customs at all if such imports
    are illegal.

    Also, if the shipment was "illegal", how
    were samples of bees and the container
    sent to a lab for analysis?

    I'm also interested in how the shipment
    got out of the USA, as my understanding
    is that export paperwork is checked by
    US customs before shipments are allowed
    to leave the US.

    But, as Pedro mentioned, Portugal faces
    more risk from trade with Africa than
    trade with the US.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2003
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    Kiel WI, USA
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    What happened in France?

  4. #4
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    This is from the perspective of someone who has yet to see a live SHB (I have seen specimens in a jar).

    From what people have reported I would say it appears that SHB in climates with cold winters and clay soil do not appear to be a problem, just a nuisance. SHB in climates where the weather is mild and the soil is sandy CAN become a problem. They seem to be more aggressive than wax moths under the right conditions. Strong hives do seem to deal with them.

    That is what I've been hearing.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    lewisberry, Pa, usa
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    renaud,
    We have the SHB throughout most of the state of pennsylvania. And those areas not having them will soon see them. Through packages, migritory beekeepers, and the natural spread of the beetle, I do not see any grand barrier keeping them from spreading. Up till last year, we tracked the spread and kept a map. This year they are so widespread, no use in that being done.

    I have seen the hive beetle in a good number of hives. But none were devestated. Seems the bees were doing a good lob in keeping them in check. This may because of several reasons. These may not be apply to other areas or in the southern/warmer regioins. It may include...

    The temperate climate here in Pennsylvania. Although the beetle was at one time thought to not have the ability to survive the winter, I do not hear those comments anymore. But maybe the winter knocks down the numbers to a level that harms the beetle cycle and keeps the numbers at a minimum to some unknown degree.

    A large part of the state, where I live is clay based. Beetles have a hard time completing the life cycle in clay earth.

    Perhaps a bee that has been forced through selective survival, breeding from beekeepers, or other reasons associated with the fight with the v-mite, could this help the bees handle the beetle? Just assumptions but certainly a possibility.

    Could some other chemical, or management strategy used today in beekeeping, and thought for another problem, help against the beetle? Just more random thoughts.

    Could beekeepers just be managing the hives more healthy in some way with more inspections, staying on top of things, and the like. Certainly the days of letting the hives go all year long without inspections is far over. Even for commercial operations.

    But I will say that the beetle devestation that was predicted seems to be NOT materializing. Maybe its to early for that comment, we will have to see. I just do not see the overall beetle problem as major, even in areas with beetles being found in specific apiaries. I have heard about great problems and losses in years past, mainly in the southern states, but I do not hear alot now. Makes you wonder. Was it from large operations who dealt poorly with the mites and then had unfortunate dealings with beetles moving into those apairies and taking over weak hives?

    So far I am holding my breathe as I have had them in my hives for two years. And no major problems. Only one lost hive with beelte infestation. But this was also a hive that went queenless, had moth problems, and then the beetles moved in. No other hives in the area even had beetles. Alot of questions.....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    Belgium
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    @ dcross
    it seems that queens comming from the same origin as the contaminated portuguese ones got past the customs of france without checking. Is aethinia already in france??? nobody knows but the french authorities made nothing like they did in portugal (hives have been burned and soil decontaminated)

    @ Bjornbee

    you said:"Perhaps a bee that has been forced through selective survival, breeding from beekeepers,"

    do you know if the russian (primorski) bees have a better behavior with the SHB??? I'm working with those bees for the moment (to select tolerant bees)

    Renaud

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    Lincolnton Ga. USA.
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    we have the SHB all over here and i here guys say that the more aggressive bees deal with the SHB alot better, i know its a bad sign for the tame, gentle bee's if thats true. im lucky in a way because where i live here in georgia ,we have just rocks and hard clay , the SHB doesn't seem to be much a problem around here but about 40 miles away in augusta i know a guy that lose's his hives to them, but not many hives maybe 4 or 5 a year (he only has 5). he tell's me that his hives are loaded down with beetle's and larve and i ask him what he did to stop them and he said nothing so i tell him ,if they cant make it with bee's then he should try raising beetle's,looks like he got a good start. you know people like that is why you will never get ride of the SHB. he said he inspect's there hive and count about 50 beetle's ,they he smash's them with his thumb and then wait about 2 months and inspect again then the hive is loaded down with beetle's , i told him to use gaurdstar and checkmite strips for the beetle's and he said checkmite is just for varrao mites so i said good luck. well he say's he lose his hives and i say BEETLE RAISER. Well if you going to be STUPID, you better be tough.

    [This message has been edited by TwT (edited December 22, 2004).]

    [This message has been edited by TwT (edited December 22, 2004).]

  8. #8
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    May 2002
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    Danbury,Ct. USA
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    One major thing to do is extract quickly after pulling supers.

    Dickm

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Mobile, Alabama
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    Post

    Bjorn said: "I have heard about great problems and losses in years past, mainly in the southern states, but I do not hear alot now. Makes you wonder. Was it from large operations who dealt poorly with the mites and then had unfortunate dealings with beetles moving into those apairies and taking over weak hives?"

    Bjorn,

    I think it may be a combination of this and learning to cope better with the beetle itself. I know that in my case this year, some of the hives that I lost were weaker hives that in years past I could have nursed back to health before Winter. I will have to improve my mite control, and handle weak hives more aggressively in the future. But I also lost some strong colonies that just absconded. I was one of the "stupid" beekeepers that thought a strong colony could keep the SHB at bay. It is evident to me now that, here in the Deep South the SHB can become a problem for any colony. I think that the biggest problem we have here in the South is the extended breeding season. It seemed that my biggest problem this year came in summer after my bees slowed down their brood production. I have sandy soil here as well, and from what I have read, beetle pupation is easier here than in clay soil.

    With what I have learned this year, here are a few things I will do differently next year:

    1. I will not be afraid to use checkmite under the cardboard. I hesitated to use it this season and after finally trying it, found that it could have made a difference.

    2. I will continue to use the West traps. I can't afford to get them for all of my hives, and I wouldn't have time to keep them all cleaned out on a timely basis anyway. So I may keep a few in each yard, or move them from yard to yard.

    3. I have stopped killing fire ant colonies in my yards. I don't know if they are a threat to SHB pupae, but I am willing to give them a shot. Every little bit helps.

    4. I am going to do a better job of controlling cavity size near the end of the flow. As I said earlier, I had my worst problems shortly after the flow. The supers need to be off at that time so the bees have a shot at controlling the space they are in.

    Hope everybody enjoys the holiday season.

    ------------------
    Rob Koss

  10. #10
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    Jan 2005
    Location
    North Georgia mountains
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    Post

    SHB doesn't kill healthy hives...it kills hives already weak from other problems...usually Varroa Mites.

    BubbaBob

  11. #11
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    > The supers need to be off at that time so the bees have a shot at controlling the space they are in.

    But if the supers are off who's keeping the beetles out of the supers?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
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    Apr 2003
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    Greenville, TX, USA
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    Never thought I'd be happy about clay soil....

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Mobile, Alabama
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    BubbaBob said: "SHB doesn't kill healthy hives...it kills hives already weak from other problems...usually Varroa Mites."

    BubbaBob,

    They may not kill healthy hives, but I have seen healthy hives lose control of their cavity to the beetles and abscond. I do believe that this was something I could have prevented by reducing the cavity size (pulling supers) earlier.

    Michael said: "But if the supers are off who's keeping the beetles out of the supers?"

    That's a good question Michael. The "who" would be me, and that's the point - the bees won't have all that extra space to protect. But other than extracting them as quickly as possible, I don't have many ideas how to protect them from beetles, or even how susceptible they will be to damage from the beetles.
    Rob Koss

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    North Georgia mountains
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    923

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    ikeepbees, I have a lot to learn about beekeeping, so a lot of what I pass along on this board comes from what I consider to be knowledgeable sources of information on beekeeping, specifically two university entomology departments that do heavy research on honeybees, the Univ of Georgia and the Univ of Tennessee.

    Last Tues I attended a seminar on pests/diseases of honeybees put on by an entomologist from UGA whose speciality os SHB. He stated flatly, as fact, not theory, that SHB will not, cannot, take down a strong hive, and the best way to control them is by taking care of other problems to keep hives strong.

    BubbaBob

  15. #15
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    Feb 2003
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    lewisberry, Pa, usa
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    Bubbabobb,
    Whether you have one hive and attend to its every need on a daily basis, or are a side-liner with many hives and manage as time permits, chances are for many, that there will be a time that your hive will be less than 100%. With that in mind, knowing only how to "keep a strong hive", and not discuss, know, and actively combat hive beetles, is to me ignoring the problem till it presents itself.

    If keeping a strong hive is all we need to do, that seems simple. I guess the same could be said with wax moths, or yellow jackets, and other pests. Unfortunately, the cycle of swarming, the broodless time of mid-summer, and other times of the year, can and will present opportunities for pests such as SHB to take advantage of less than ideal strength hives. To say that beetles can not take out a hive is really cutting a thin line. Knowing that a hive may be less than 100% at certain times of the year, and that not every beekeeper keeps 100% (whatever that may be) strong hives, than to say the beetles can not take out a hive would be incorrect. From the standpoint that no hive can maintain optimal levels all the time, that comment help with nothing.

    Without the beetles, a hive less than "strong" may of requeened, built back up, and increased to this "hypothetical" level that the UGA person thinks that all hive must always be at. What a poor rational. Nobody including myself maintains hives yearlong, that the beetle could not take advantage of. So the question would be, what is the purpose of that comment anyways. It certainly does not help in the battle with SHB. Some beekeepers could dismiss the true implications, and have devestating results. Having the beetle in a hive, and dismiss them on any level would be wrong. SHB, will wait its time and take advantage when it presents itself.

    And once the SHB is established on any level, it is very hard for the hive to rid them. The worms are fast, hard to combat, and the beetles themselves are nasty. I am also certain that many beekeepers would argue as to the ability of SHB as to its impact even on a strong hive. The impact may not be in hive loss but what about honey production, absconding, and lost pollination? Some I'm sure would say outright that beetles impact and eventually can take a hive total loss, but they don't have "entomologist" on thier business cards.

    If beetles are present and only when a hive is weakened by ANY reason, the beetles take over, can it be said that the beetle can take out a normally healthy hive that only is going through the normal cycles of the hive? Is not this killing a normal strong hive, as normal strong hives go?

    I could never imagine anyone giving a talk and after someone asking about about SHB, the answer would be "just keep strong hives". I think its a disservice to beekeepers, and its as if saying "You would not of had SHB if you would of done your job and kept strong hives." Unfortunately that comment help little as to what should be done, what can be done, and goes little into helping beekeepers understand, educate themselves, and become better beekeepers. There is a little more to SHB that keeping "strong" hives. Something that can not be achieved all the time. Hope he stays in Georgia.

  16. #16
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    Aug 2002
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    It seems to me it's always a nice idea to keep strong hives, but I agree with Bjorn, I don't think you CAN always keep strong hives. What is a split? It's a small weak hive trying to get back up to being a strong ghive. What is a swarm? It's not a strong hive. What is new package of bees? Not a strong hive yet. We often start with a weak hive in order to end up with more hives. It doesn't seem real practical to say you'll just never have a weak hive.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Monroe Ga, U.S.A.
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    124

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    BubbaBob, you said the bad words that hit some nerves. One being University, and the other Entomology. Many of the members here at beesource, feel that bee labs and entomologist do not provide us with any truthful, usable information.

    I take it that you sat in on one of Dr. Ellis’ presentations about his study on SHB. Last summer I had the opportunity to help with some of his studies. One in which he regularly put 2500 SHB into 35 different colonies through out the summer. Now 2500 SHB is a lot! I couldn’t imagine the thought of opening one of my hives and finding 2500 SHB running around. One of the reasons that he states that a strong hive will not be brought down by SHB is after all of last summer he never lost a hive to them. Nope not one. As a matter of fact, he had to split the hives several time just to keep them from swarming and messing up the study.

    Although I can’t give numbers, there is a difference a weak hive and a strong one. A split or nuc although small does not automatically mean weak. We’ve all seen hives that are hit with some problem and suddenly they can’t do anything right. They’ve become weak, almost helpless. I’ve seen nucs, splits, and swarms that were stronger than colonies twice their size. Further, as stated before the amount of space that a colony must take care of makes a difference too. It takes X amount of bees to take care of Y amount of space.

    Strong hives do prevent the SHB from destroying colonies. This is a well known fact throughout the beekeeping community in South Georgia and Florida (i.e. SHB central). If you are having problems with your hive(s) then yes, the SHB will take advantage of them. So now, you are faced with one of two choices.

    One treat your colonies for SHB weather you think you have a problem or not. Well most beekeepers around the country took this approach with mites over the past 15 years and you can see what it has done for us. Most of the chemicals used to control varroa mites do not work. The mites have built resistance to them.

    Two you can use alternative methods to “just treating”. One is keeping your colonies strong. Know when there is a problem and fix it. High mite counts, poor queen, low populations. All of these can give SHBs the foot hold that they need. So keep your colonies strong and let the bees take care of themselves. Many times, it is not necessary for you to “combat” the beetles. Further the chemicals treatments are still regulated by the manufacture. If you use checkmite under cardboard you should use it for 45 days to be effective and then you still have to remove the strips 14 days before you put your supers on. And you can’t use it during the honey flow (when beetles are at their worst).

    Now if you feel that you want to help those poor bees, here are some other things that you can do to help.

    Like ikeepbees said, leaving the ants alone does help. But if you live in a really bad ant area (out west) this may not be the best answer. The west traps have come a long way and many beekeepers say they work great, but the price does get you in the pocket. Keeping the hive cavity small enough for the hives population to take care of it helps too. Don’t remove (rob) any more supers than you can extract in one day. The longer you leave the supers sitting the more beetles you will have in them when you put them back on the hive. Beekeepers have also found that running nine frames instead of ten (or one frame less depending one your hive size) will keep the amount of hiding places for the beetles to a minimum within the colony. The bees can’t really do much physical harm to the beetles, but the beetles do not like the attention the bees give them. They will hide any where they can. The less hiding places they have the better the bees can run them out of the hive. Other methods such a ground drenching and what not have proven to not be worth the time and money since the chemicals are often washed away after a good rain.

    There is wide spread use of fiperneal (I know I didn’t spell that right). It’s a product made by Bayer. Bayer calls it Maxforce FC Roach Killer Gel Bait. It’s used in roach motels and several other products to kill roaches. Beekeepers taking plastic card board, slice it open squirting some of this stuff in it then taping it shut. Throw it in the hive and you will not believe how many SHB this stuff kills. (really it’s shocking) But after being requested (almost threatened) by beekeepers throughout the state of Georgia the UGA bee lab sent a letter asking permission to test the chemical for the use against SHBs. Bayer replied that they will not give permission to use, test, or study the use of their MaxForce FC Roach Killer Gel Bait. But there is hope. A new study is being conducted this summer to test different funguses that grow naturally in the soil. No need to worry everybody, there isn’t any chemical companies flipping the bill for this study. It is being funded by the Georgia Beekeepers Association. Although it may be a complete waste. After all the study is being done by an entomologist at a University bee lab.

    BB

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    lewisberry, Pa, usa
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    Billy Bob,
    No one has disputed the fact that a strong hive can defend against SHB. If you go back to my original post, I already mentioned that. You have missed the point.

    Lets ask a few questions...

    Why would the people who say that SHB is handled by a "strong" hive also be asking for permission to test chemicals? Is there more to the story? Is having "strong" hives by every beekeeper as defined by the standard used in the UGA tests not practical for application to everyday apairies? Are hives not studied under "university" studies, (ie. those not fed, studied and not given the same type of care), have less than the same chances for pretection? Are they more in line with the average hive?

    Would the stories of great loss by SHB in the past indicate that in reality not all hives are maintained in this "strong" catagory? If you were to assign a percentage to each level, say from 1(weak) to 10(strong), than on a real, or practical standpoint, what would the hives overall be in the catagory (10 or strong) protected by this study mentioned?

    Certainly hives being kept by beekeepers in the so-called "SHB central" have been kept in this less than "strong" catagory that has been mentioned. How else do you explain the stories of loss and destruction? Could it be that beekeepers in Georgia and Florida need a refresher course? Are they less than average? If saying all you have to do is keep strong hives, than those southern beekeepers must really stink.

    Or could it be that on a 1 to 10 scale, that there is always going to be hives not in this "strong" level. And to simply state that strong hives will defend against SHB really dismisses the majority of hives, kept under everyday standards, from the impact potential of SHB.

    Having proved that a hive under ideal situations and care, can defend against SHB is nothing new. I know it must of been a major find for the entomologist. Unfortunately it matters little to all beekeepers who already try to maintain the best level of strength in hives. Reality and everyday practical applcation means dealing with, and having hives that are not always up to the standard of "strong". Something that would be hard to define. I am sure that many hives that were doing better than average work in pollination and honey production has been effected by SHB. What about the hives in the 9, 8 or 7 catagory?(mentioned above). It could be said that these hives were healthy and productive, and within a range that most hives would fall into, but are they at an increased risk? Sure.

    So while this "keep a strong" hive comment is true, and can also be applied to wax moths and other pests, does it really say anything revealing? Does it help beekeepers who already keep the strongest hives possible under changing and shifting conditions to have someone say "keep a strong hive". Something that can not be achieved all the time. I hope the next test that the UGA runs is more helpful.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Mobile, Alabama
    Posts
    536

    Post

    BubbaBob said: "He stated flatly, as fact, not theory, that SHB will not, cannot, take down a strong hive, and the best way to control them is by taking care of other problems to keep hives strong."

    BubbaBob,

    Even a "strong" hive can only control so much real estate. Should the volume of the cavity exceed the volume that the "strong" colony can defend, then the cavity is susceptible to undesirable pests. I wanted to share my observations that keeping strong colonies doesn't do much good if the cavity is too large for them to defend. I am not an entomologist, just a guy who pays attention because I can't really afford to keep losing hives to this beetle.

    I have a lot to learn about beekeeping, too. I try to pass along things I have observed, rather than what someone else presents as fact.
    Rob Koss

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
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    3,401

    Post

    > ...you said the bad words that hit some nerves.
    > One being University, and the other Entomology.
    > Many of the members here at beesource, feel that
    > bee labs and entomologist do not provide us with
    > any truthful, usable information.

    I'm not sure that you can take the liberty of
    speaking for "many" members, as I have yet to
    hear anyone else present a similar view to yours.

    If you want to claim that the information provided
    is not truthful, then it would not be possible to
    have an adult conversation with you about your
    concerns.

    If you feel that the information is not "useful",
    all I can suggest is that you use your internet
    connection to send e-mails to the specific researchers
    whose research you do not understand fully.

    It is true that there are no magic bullets, no
    single solutions, and no easy answers to many
    current problems in beekeeping. It is also
    true that I was promised flying cars, tourist
    trips to the moon, and domestic robots when I
    was a kid. While I might blame "science" or
    "scientists", I think that any "blame" for a
    lack of these items must be spread around a bit
    more.

    If you read enough old beekeeping books, you
    can understand the depth and the extent of the
    ignorance common among beekeepers as recently
    as 50 years ago. If you compare them to any
    of the modern texts, you can see the impact of
    the work of research.

    jim

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