Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 51
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    769

    Post

    Since switching to small cell and nearly 100% feral bees (removals, swarms and their descendants), the Varroa Destructor (VD) era appears to be over for my 60 hives. The jury is still out, but I havn't seen a varroa for months.
    NOW the problem is Small Hive Beetle (SHB). I've lost 8 out of 30 pollination hives this summer to SHB. Admittedly, these weren't the strongest hives ever assembled, but were very strong and building up. My mistake: I gave them extra room (supers) because I only visit their remote location about every 4-6 weeks. Some SHB (non scientific) observations:
    1) SHB can overwhelm a strong hive very quickly. There must be enough house bees to constantly patrol every inch of every comb - chasing the adult beetles and removing eggs.
    2) The adult beetles like to lay eggs in crevices (especially the bottom bar groove) where the bees can't reach them. The shb eggs hatch within about 24 hours into very tiny, very voracious larvae.
    3) The larvae burrow through the comb midrife, eating brood and pollen. The downward spiral in bee population accelerates - more shb larvae, fewer replacement bees ... The comb is slimed and the queen stops laying. Meanwhile wax moths proliferate and the destruction further accelerates.
    4) At about this point the queen and most of the bees will adscond - appearing to be a small "swarm". I think most of these "swarms" actually join another hive.
    5) I believe the problem spreads from one hive to another. The adult shb leaving a dead-out seem to concentrate on the same neighboring hive. They find the hive entrance by following the bees.
    6) I think screened bottom boards (especially with the insert in) help the SHB avoid the patroling house bees.
    7) Contrary to scientific info about the SHB life-cycle suggesting the SHB larvae must leave the hive to pupate in the ground, I believe they can and do pupate in the hive (in comb midrife and bottom debris) if there are no bees around to prevent it. I opened several small caccoons containing what appeared to me as SHB larvae. (Note: Ground treatments like Gardstar might be selecting for SHB that pupate in the hive? If so, SHB might become better suited for winter survival in colder climates?).

    More later.
    Triangle Bees

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    Posts
    3,598

    Post

    db,

    sorry to hear of the troubles
    so far I haven't had a problem with SHB but expect them to show up
    I'm curious, have you had SHB troubles with your hives at home?
    If I'm not mistaken you said your outyards are east of here where the soil is sandy while around here it's clay
    just wondering if that makes a difference
    Thanks for the report on the SC, it's encouraging

    Dave

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Texarkana, TX
    Posts
    166

    Post

    Howdy db --

    Your findings and ideas support some of my ideas. One additional theory is that the beetles may be able to do a complete cycle outside the hive and then enter hives. In one of my yards of 18 hives the beetle population exploded right after honey crop was removed. 8 strong hives were killed in less than a month. The yard is in scattered large pine trees with deep build up of decayed pine needles. Did the enormous beetle population come from that build up?
    Doc

    [size="1"][ September 25, 2006, 08:33 PM: Message edited by: hrogers ][/size]

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Loganville, GA
    Posts
    2,172

    Post

    Just something to think about.

    I have 17 colonies sitting on solid Granite, for 100ft in every direction. I have more SHB at that location than my other which is located on a clay/sand soil.

    I too have noticed what seems to be development inside the hives and also primarily in the bottom grooves and any cracks they can find.

    Bees that tend to propolize can be a blessing where these pests are concerned. I have made it a part of my regular routine to inspect my hives for any hiding places for the beetles. And seal them myself if the bees haven't.

    I have also become a big fan of letting by bees make their own comb in the brood boxes instead of providing foundation. But that's another discussion. So, with that in mind, until I either design my own frames or find another to use. I am also sealing joints and bottom grooves with wax to close up those safe havens for the beetles.

    I have not noticed any of my bees that will tolorate the existence of SHB's in their hives, Italian or Carnie. But if they can't get to them, there's nothing they can do about them. So I believe a lot of the management of these pests rest with us. In the quality of construction and maintenance of the hives. And as mentioned above, better planning in the addition of space that the bees will have to maintain.

    Great discussion guys!! Hope some more folks will pipe in with their observations.....
    "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." Winston Churchill

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Post

    interest thead db_land.

    I would think based on my experience.

    #1- NO.

    #2-most definitely yes and a good reason for solid bottom bars.

    #3-yes. but for me the problem is most notable on hives with weak population and limited resources (which as you have suggested can be partially or wholly attributed to actions of the bee keeper... ie robbing excess honey).

    #4 yes but no. a weaken hive will abscond from internal problem, but most times here they simply take to the trees.

    #5 No, at least not in my experience. See bracketed comment of #3.

    #6 Highly likely. I do not use screened bottom boards but anything that allows a small crack or crevice that the bees cannot patrol will provide a congregation place for the hive beetle. As I have suggested in another thread poor fitting hive bodies provides the same niche.

    #7 A good hypothesis, but like most hypothesis difficult to test. Is the scientific thinking that the shb must pupate in the ground or is this the overwintering component of it life cycle?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Edgefield County, South Carolina
    Posts
    648

    Post

    Yea,
    I agree with most of what has been already stated. I began to have problems after making splits to ten frame hives late in the year. I had noticed the pest before then but the bees had controlled them. The extra comb I added was the downfall---thus adding the extra hiding space they needed. I lost three of four (last year) my first year. My bees absconded to happier hunting grounds not mine!!!

    Everyone has their own theory about soil content. I definitely think the harder soil helps but I have hard clay base and still have shb. I moved them to a bottom that had more of a leafy matter after the splits and this is when the numbers exploded, Did the soil content help I'm not sure. But I know it didn't help. After the infestation I tried breaking the hives down and putting the comb in freezer to save them. It only delayed the tragedy. At this point I had moved all the colonies miles from my house. also no other beekeeper around. I removed frozen comb (from deep freeze) that had been there at least a week. Placed them on a table to thaw and after they did, they had adult shb on them. I guess they were attracted to the comb on the table, because all my hives (three colonies-I had lost one at this point) were miles away.

    Folks in other part of my State with sandy land also have a problem but from what I hear is worse than clay land area. My friend is in sandy land and has not much of a problem. He attributes it to the fact that he pollinates and moves his hives often thus breaking the cycle. Seems to have more of a problem in the honey house I think???

    Screened bottom boards??? Makes since I guess--open bottoms easy access. Some people have actually sealed everything except a pvc pipe in upper part of deep to use as entrance.

    Don't have any idea about pupating in the hive?

    As for treatment I guess that is a discussion all of it's own!!! I have used a few things I could mention and then one last ditch effort I care not too!!! I know there have been several discussions on treatment so I will leave it out of this thread at this time.

    For those of you who are not bothered with them GOOD LUCK!!! Hope it remains that way.
    sc-bee

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    769

    Post

    Dave: All of the losses were in the Clinton area (sandy loam type soil great for farming). In the Triangle I've seen shb in most hives, but no losses so far. I did have a weak removal (the idiot home owner had been spraying them for some time before calling me to remove). This removal came with lots of SHB (I only saw adults during the removal). I put them in a 5-frame nuc; manually killed about 100 adult shb; gave them 2 frames of brood; fed sugar syrup; etc. - finally got them through it.

    tecumseh: The scientific thinking is that the larvae must leave the hive to pupate in dirt. My eyesight isn't good enough to be absolutely sure, but I'm pretty sure I found shb caccoons in the hive.

    I like the idea of solid/wax filled bottom bars. How are commercial scale beekeepers controling their SHB problems? Traps seem too expensive and labor intensive.

    A couple more thoughts: The bee yard that had the most SHB problems is mostly shaded and close to an irrigation pond (soil around the hives is damp most of the time). I read that the SHB larvae can crawl a long way to find soil for pupating. To test this I put a larvae in the middle of about 20ft (in all directions) of hot asphalt. It had no trouble crawling to the edge! So putting something under the hive won't stop them from reaching soil. Squishing the adult beetles is easy (for a hive tool), but the larvae are tough.

    I welcome any ideas about how to control these little monsters. Bear in mind for me it would have to work for 60 hives most of which are remote (visited about every 4-6 weeks). Any homemade trap ideas?

    Triangle Bees

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Mountains of western North Carolina
    Posts
    97

    Post

    I have placed a Hood trap in each of 20 hives, some known to have SHB. In two weeks the traps had collected impressive numbers of beetles (6-8 in a few traps, less in others), though I saw beetles still running in hives with the traps.

    In strong singles I see them most often corralled into a corner of the top side of the inner cover, am trying to figure how to design or modify a trap to fit in that space.

    Also caught a few in hives where beetles had not been seen previously.

    Some traps caught none, despite beetles running in those hives.

    So - results are mixed but in all cases have seen no larva seen and infestations do not appear to be worsening.

    Infestations seem worst in areas with most shade - situation has improved with more sun, but there may be other factors altered by moving those hives.

    My experience so far with ruined brood comb has been that after freezing the bees will clean it up but have yet to re-draw and actually move back into it. I'm melt it out and start those frames over.

    Good luck.
    Flying by the seat of my pants.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
    Posts
    6,080

    Post

    db-land,


    Your correct about shb not needing to pupate in the ground. I have been speaking of such matters for over a year and had previously made reference to this in the following thread,
    http://www.beesource.com/cgi-bin/ubb...=006138#000003

    A couple points concerning your original post....

    I find it interesting that your bees are v-mite free, or so as claimed. I am not questioning your comment, just the basis for the comments. Are you sure? Are you mite counting? The reason I ask is that some of my best mite resistant hives are also my best shb defended hives. You may have a case of mites assimulating themselves into the hive. It is documented that shb's take on the smell of the hive and the bees will actually feed the shb. If this is the case, making your hive stronger or other attempts may fail without some outside "chemical" treatment, or other measures.

    Some points....

    Hives in shade causes problems with almost all pests and deseases. Get them in the sun.

    shb will travel up to several miles in one day. They are very good fliers.

    Certain soils are better at shb pupating. Sandy soils seems like they allow easy life cycle completion. Clay soils do help, but since life cycles can complete within the hive or stores boxes, the ground in just one item to consider.

    The shb lavae are great at crawling. Concrete slabs and rubber sheets provide little resistance. Sprinkling borax at the esge of the rubber sheet of at the edge of the concrete may help.

    I do use sbb, but they are for the most part without pullouts. I just converted most of my solids to sbb, so there really is no more "area" for the shb to hide. I think doing away with the benefits of sbb would be a mistake. The shb just are taking advantage of the area of opportunity, but without this area, they would just take advantage of the next area presented.

    Like v-mites and other pests, some hives are better at dealing with shb. It is something to consider with efforts of breeding. I personally feel that the longtime efforts to have "nice" bees has taken away some of the bees natural pest fighting capabilities. I don't want mean bees, but I don't want bees that can not handle a few beetles either.

    [size="1"][ September 01, 2006, 02:01 PM: Message edited by: BjornBee ][/size]

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    Posts
    3,598

    Post

    it seems to me that the methods of trapping beetles I've read about all contain two elements

    1} a space where the beetles can reach but the bees can't, presumably the bees chase or "corral" them there

    2) some killing agent.
    I can't spell coumo-whatchamacallit so I'm left with FGMO or DE

    all the reports I see involve people saying the bees are "corraling" the beetles on the inner cover or in the upper corner of the hive
    why doesn't somebody build a trap into the inner cover?
    it would be much more protected from the weather, as far as rain getting into the killing agent
    maybe I'll whip one together and get you to test it next year db, so far I'm still not bothered by them
    (next year might be a different tale)

    Dave

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    central N.C.
    Posts
    130

    Post

    I got two hives this spring that were moved out of the sandhills onto my place witch is A clay loam I had shb in both hives early on but have not saw any in the last two months, might still have them just not seeing them. The hives are also kept in direct sun.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Post

    thanks for the info db...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,809

    Post

    I wonder if we don't need to start reconsidering the design of some of our equipement. We could make frames with no grooves in the bottom board and that eliminates a place that wax worms and SHB hide. We could try to eliminate other nooks and crannies, get rid of inner covers etc. All these nooks seem to be where the beetles hide.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,361

    Post

    Yes, and slides under screens with DE to kill the ones that hide seems to be effective for some.

  15. #15

    Post

    Fellow Beeks,

    I have made quite a few observations regading SHB:

    1. Don't use Rite-Cell Plastic Frames unless you have the time and inclination to completely fill in the gaps on the sides of the frames; you can't even count how many hive beetles get corraled in there (and the hive tool doesn't work).

    2. IMHO - I, like Bjornbee, am convinced that SHB can and do pupate in the hive. They do not need to pupate in the ground. Their larvae are extremely fast when crawling away . . .

    3. Build or buy equipment that doesn't have the bottom slot for foundation (buy a solid bottom, build it yourself, or fill in the gaps on the end with wax; same thing for the top bar too!).

    4. If you make your own equipment make sure that you don't leave any gaps with the top bars and the super.

    5. Don't use the metal frame spacers (don't laugh at this statement. Most new beekeepers don't realize you don't need them; using them gives the beetles a place to hide from the bees).

    6. Cut a piece of wire from a coat hanger and add it to your hive equipment tools. You can use it to squish hive beetles while they are still hiding in a drawn cell. Have you noticed that they won't come out when they know you are going to squish them (they seem to know you won't mash the drawn comb).

    7. Like Michael said, don't use inner covers; go to migratory covers (no beetles handing out on the inner cover if you don't have one).
    Keith

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Alpharetta, GA, USA
    Posts
    520

    Post

    "Have you noticed that they won't come out when they know you are going to squish them (they seem to know you won't mash the drawn comb)."

    Yes, I've been marveling with disgust at this survival trait they seem to possess. They seem to be pretty clever at evading and running from the hive tool weapon. But I am glad that they don't all just fly away when chased. Then I wouldn't get the pleasure of crushing them. :mad:

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Post

    wee three adds:
    5. Don't use the metal frame spacers (don't laugh at this statement. Most new beekeepers don't realize you don't need them; using them gives the beetles a place to hide from the bees).

    tecumseh reply:
    absolutely and thank God for gorrilla glue. he did invent the stuff....right?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    769

    Post

    BjornBee: Sorry I missed your post about shb larvae pupating in the hive. I think this makes shb a more serious problem for all beeks. The past few months I checked the bottom insert for my home yard hives and found zero mites. The shb deadouts had no mites on bottom boards or inserts. Bees may feed shb but my observation is that the bees act very aggressively toward the beetles. I've seen a worker bee successfully grab (by curling around it) a shb that I was chasing with the hive tool. It flew off with it. Most often I find shb (I've seen 12 all corraled together) in a corner (top and/or bottom). The only reason the shb deadout hives are in the shade beside a pond is that is where the farmer wanted them out of the way of his equipment. In future, I will not put hives in this location unless a better site is provided. Thanx for the idea about borax - the problem is it last only until the next rain. I've seen shb duck down below the sbb while being chased by a bee. They come up in a different location. I like sbb too but these are difficult/impossible for the bees to defend against shb. Maybe leaving the insert in and coating it with something like DE would work, but then you lose the ventilation benefit anyway. I think we need to reduce the hiding places for shb or at least make the hiding places a death trap for them. I agree with your comments about breeding and "nice" bees.

    Dave: I'd be happy to test any traps you design. How about using DE as the killing agent? You like helping fellow beeks so you don't need to wait until shb becomes a problem for you.

    MB and Wee3Bees: I think getting rid of nooks and crannies is good. I too have stopped using the frame spacers and will henceforth use only solid bottom-bar frames. In house removals that I've done, the bees have propolized every crack or hole that they can't get into. I wonder why they don't propolize the bottom groove in langstroth frames? I still use an inner cover but allow the bees full access to the space between it and the top (a lot of shb get corraled here). Like the idea of using a coat hangar or the head of a small nail to kill the adult shb hiding in cells.

    Do shb go through a population explosion at some particular time of year? Seems like this happened late July in my hives. Are shb adults attracted to hives where shb larvae are active? Could a few mashed up shb larvae act as trap bait for shb adults? I took a shb adult out of a hive, closed up the hive, walked about 10 feet away and released it. It immediately, directly flew back to it's 'home' hive and went into the entrance (the guards tried to stop it but could not). There was another hive about 5 feet to the left. Seems like some kind of entrance trap would work: The shb don't fly directly into the entrance, but land on the hive a few inches away and essentually dash through the entrance. Sometimes they have to make a couple of attempts in order to evade guard bees.

    Thanks to all,
    Triangle Bees

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Post

    db land ask:
    I wonder why they don't propolize the bottom groove in langstroth frames?

    tecumseh replies:
    well when I have a hive that is strong enough... mine do. A strong active hive will fill in the slot until there is really no place for the shb to lurk. My problems invarible occur on those hive that are not so strong.

    in regards to breeding 'nice bees' ... it was not that long ago that the buzz in the industry was the idea of breeding a bee that did not (or did at a much reduced level) propolize. Seemed to me like a stange idea then, sounds almost insane now. Much like Bjorn (woa did I say that) I suspect we are suffering now from some of the not so distant past's short sighted breeding decision which placed way too much focus on breeding them to be 'gentle as a lamb'.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    1,933

    Post

    As to screened bottoms,
    I thought the thinking was that beetles don't like the light so letting some light in the screened bottom is good?

    I still have a few inner covers on a few hives and have noticed the beetles in them. One hive had a feeder jar on the inner cover hole with empty super then lid. There were lots of beetle larvae between the jar lid and inner cover feeding on the stuff in there.

    This configuration is working out better for me=
    getting rid of the inner cover, with a top entrance to let in light and let out moisture, along with a hole in the top for a feeder jar.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads