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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,858

    Default Ignorant Questions on SHB

    We just got the SHB last year. I used some Hood traps with marginal success although one hive had 30 beetles in the trap. This year we have more beetles, or at least I'm noticing more of them in my hives, in my swarm traps and in my mating nucs.

    Interestingly, we have adult beetles, but have not had much problem with larvae burrowing up in comb.

    And being fairly new to this subject due to an intentional ignorance because I didn't have a problem with SHB, I now have a couple of questions.

    First, in another older thread, the advice was to check all your old equipment, dead outs, stored comb, etc. My initial thought was there wasn't anything in these combs/equipment for the SHB to feast on. Have any of you found SHB in dry, stored equipment? I have only found SHB in living hives with stores of honey.

    Second, this Guardstar treatment has me confused. You pour it on the ground to kill the pupating larvae. But if you have larvae escaping the hive to pupate, hasn't the damage already been done inside the hive by the larvae? Is not Guardstar a little too late, and at best, would only prevent more adults from emerging to lay more eggs? What can you do if you have larvae in the hive tearing up your comb and making a stinking mess of the honey stores?

    Third, I remember reading something, somewhere questioning if adult beetles can fit through an 8-mesh hardware cloth that most of use for screen bottom boards. Can anyone remember where this topic was clarified?

    Thanks for your patience and insights,

    Grant
    Jackson, MO
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Columbia, South Carolina USA
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    2,598

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Grant View Post
    Second, this Guardstar treatment has me confused. You pour it on the ground to kill the pupating larvae. But if you have larvae escaping the hive to pupate, hasn't the damage already been done inside the hive by the larvae?
    THose larvae yes, but their future progeny, no.

    Is not Guardstar a little too late, and at best, would only prevent more adults from emerging to lay more eggs?
    Sometimes, but not if used before thigns get out of hand. Preventing large numbers of adults from building up is a very very good thing.


    What can you do if you have larvae in the hive tearing up your comb and making a stinking mess of the honey stores?
    remove the affected comb, reduce the hive size to a point where the bees can cover the available real estate and make sure the thing is in the sun.

    Having said all that, the real key to dealing wiht the beetles is to have very strong hives. Don't keep too many dinks around as they are just a buffet for the beetles.

    Has anyone had any luck with the West Beetle trap? Just cutious.

    Keith
    Bee Sting Honey - So Good, It Hurts!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,561

    Default

    I keep most of my hives in fun sun due to problems with SHB, but I left one in a shady area. This hive was being overrun with SHB. I placed the West Beetle trap on this hive and it solved the problem. I used DE (for garden pests) in the trap not oil. I've had these traps for a couple of years, but this spring was the first time I used one. I was very impressed!

    I found that GardStar was not very effective in my yards, besides it is expensive and yet another chemical we're dumping into the environment. The impact of the West Beetle trap was far more noticable. However, the best thing possible is to get your hives out into full sun, and as mentioned keep a watchful eye on small hives.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Douglasville, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    134

    Default Shb

    I'm a little confused also. The gardstar instructions are to apply the gardstar 18-24 inches "in front of each hive". My opinion is that the SHB larve are falling through the screened bottom boards and not being affected by the gardstar application "in front of each hive". Also, why is direct sunlight important? Thanks for your help.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    piedmont s.c.
    Posts
    244

    Smile Shb;

    if you will look at this diseases and pest thread about three threads down you can find some in fo. GOOD LUCK ROCK>

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
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    Default

    Where does one purchase the DE (dicotomus earth)? Are there different varieties, sizes, grades, etc?

    Grant
    Jackson, MO
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Suffolk, VA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Grant View Post
    Where does one purchase the DE (dicotomus earth)? Are there different varieties, sizes, grades, etc?

    Grant
    Jackson, MO
    Most garden stores carry it. Perhaps even lowes has it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Evansville, IN, USA
    Posts
    2,837

    Default

    >questioning if adult beetles can fit through an 8-mesh hardware cloth that most of use for screen bottom boards. Can anyone remember where this topic was clarified . . .

    I have read that adult beetles are too large to pass through 8x8 mesh.
    But, smaller, "young adults" can

  9. #9

    Thanks for DE and sunshine tips

    Thank you all for the tips, especially about using diatomaceous earth instead of oil in my new West traps. I wil have to think hard about how to move the hives into the sun.

    I just found shb for the first time in one hive. Just about 4 adults running around under the floats in a hive top feeer. This is a big, strong hive so I am mystified, but will spend time here to learn more.

    Once again, thanks to all who volunteered info here.

    Cheers,

    Toni
    Toni Bee, Urban Beekeeper
    http://www.dcbeekeepers.org

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Alpharetta, GA, USA
    Posts
    520

    Default

    From the original post-
    "Third, I remember reading something, somewhere questioning if adult beetles can fit through an 8-mesh hardware cloth that most of use for screen bottom boards. Can anyone remember where this topic was clarified?"

    I sugar-dusted today and found adult beetles among the powdered sugar on my mite board when I took it out. So they had to have come through my screened bottom board to get there.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Austin TX USA
    Posts
    300

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kenpkr View Post
    So they had to have come through my screened bottom board to get there.
    I have seen them crawl straight in the front entrance past the guard bees. I have also seen them stymied by a robber screen. I keep my hive screened everywhere possible now to keep out beetles, moths and robbers. Or in the words of Cher: gypsies tramps and thieves!

    Any larvae that fall to the ground in my yard will get devoured by fire ants on impact.
    ~May your hive thrive
    Aisha

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    1,313

    Default

    Allow me to share my experience on the SHB.

    1. The Gardstar treatment only works if the larvae pupate in the soil right near the hive and NOWHERE else nearby. The SHB can fly for a long way and the bees carry the larvae out of the hive and drop them far away, they just pupate in the ground and fly back. In my opinion the Gardstar treatment is a waste of money, unless you can afford to treat for 1/4 mile radius around the hives. (Not affordable)

    2. Full sun helps. I think because the SHB likes a high humidity environment and the heat of the sun makes it too hot and dry for them. I had a hive (in a shaded area) that was doing well and had filled some frames with a lot of pollen, then went queenless (probably swarmed) and the population dropped. The SHB overran the hive in less than a week. The larvae get started in the pollen and if you have a hundred beetles laying a hundred eggs a day that is 10000 larvae the bees have to carry out in one day - if they can't do it they get overun. The SHB will destroy the pollen (their food supply) and the combs too. The slime leaves the combs all oily and slick and nasty and the bees will just abscond.

    3. Strong hives have more bees to carry out the larvae, so of course they do better.

    4. The West beetle trap with tray and oil works well. I've not tried the DE, but here in FL I would not think it would work too well as the humidity would just make it get all clumped up. The humidity is the SHB's friend, so that means if you are using DE in a low humidity environment, you should not be having a SHB problem in the first place. Look elsewhere for the real trouble. (like weak hive, queenless, bad queen etc)

    5. The 8 mesh HW cloth is pretty effective. From what I have seen most of the adult beetles cannot fit thru the mesh, but 20-30% can fit thru, so this is a tough one. I have not had my eureka moment in this area yet. Some have suggested finer mesh, but then I question if it would work as well for the varroa to fall thru.

    6. One thing I have learned about the 8 mesh is this: If you make your own screen bottom boards there cannot be a ledge. Some of the bottom boards I have use a picture frame kind of arrangement to staple the HW cloth on. This ledge has supported hundreds of beetles just under the HW cloth, but still basically in the hive. I guess I'll have to get some pictures to show you what I mean. I beleive the SBB I bought from Dadant were the ones with no ledge and therefore a better design.

    7. Fire Ants love to eat the larvae and don't cause too much trouble with strong hives of bees, so as long as the ants are not biting your leg while tending the bees, leave them alone.

    8. As beeks we've got to do everything we can to help the bees in the fight against the SHB. We've got to go thru the hive and make sure there is no place for the beetle to hide that the bees can't get at them. If the bees can chase the beetle around they'll eventually chase them out or into the trap. Do not use the metal frame spacers as they create spaces underneath that the bees can't reach. The plastic Pierco frames are great, but the groove around the edge is big enough for a beetle to hide in and a bee can't get in there to chase them out. I am phasing out the plastic frames for that reason. Though I had thought about filling the grooves in with beeswax. You got to pay attention to beespace, and make sure the bees can fit into any space in the hive or else fill it in or close it off so the SHB can't get in there.

    Good luck.
    Troy

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Land O Lakes, FL
    Posts
    264

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Troy View Post
    Allow me to share my experience on the SHB.

    4. The West beetle trap with tray and oil works well. I've not tried the DE, but here in FL I would not think it would work too well as the humidity would just make it get all clumped up. The humidity is the SHB's friend, so that means if you are using DE in a low humidity environment, you should not be having a SHB problem in the first place. Look elsewhere for the real trouble. (like weak hive, queenless, bad queen etc)

    5. The 8 mesh HW cloth is pretty effective. From what I have seen most of the adult beetles cannot fit thru the mesh, but 20-30% can fit thru, so this is a tough one. I have not had my eureka moment in this area yet. Some have suggested finer mesh, but then I question if it would work as well for the varroa to fall thru.
    Troy
    Thanks for all the great comments. A few questions.
    I am in FL as well (Tampa). Where are you?

    1. I am using lime in the west traps. This was recommended by a few experienced beeks. Getting it evenly spread once in the hive is not really possible. Does the trap keep the beetles from getting out or is the oil/lime/de supposed to kill them before they scamper out?

    2. Interesting comments about DE and the humidity and worth nothing. The same may occur with the lime.

    I have one hive that is weak and have seen many (as many as 40-50 at a time). I started by trying a sonny & mel homemade trap. That caught about 10 within a couple of days but the lure wore off and after a week it did not catch anymore. Changing that out every couple of days is too much.

    I have intentionally opened this hive more than the others so I could squish a bunch of beetles. They congregate in one corner and are easy pickins with my hive tool and usually many run out and I can squish them on the side of the hive.

    I removed the sonny and mel trap last Sat and put in a West Beetle Trap. I bit of a pain as the spacers were not the right size (complicated reasons...). Anyway, I opened the hive today to see how they were doing and I noticed that there were no beetles in the corner as each previous time. I am hopeful that the trap is helping. I may just have to go out there and check it out.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Cleveland, Texas
    Posts
    1,378

    Default

    Just my 2 cents worth:

    1. In my experience all adult hive beetles have no problem getting through #8 hardware cloth. They fit quite well on the diagonal of the square.

    2. I have found that DE works well even in a humid environment, you just have to change it more often. I put it in the insert board under the SBB, this makes it much easier to change. The beetles squeeze through the SBB to get away from the bees and never get out of the DE. One key with the DE is to make sure it is fluffy and not packed. When the beetles get into it the first thing they do is flap their wings. This causes them to inhale the DE through their abdominal sphericles. I have watch them do this. Once they get a "snoot" full of the DE, they just flip onto their back and lay there wiggling their feet (gazing at the stars for the last time).

    3. I agree that the Guardstar is a waste of money. In our area the SHB is so prevalent that they fly in from much greater distances than you could cover with the ground drench. The fire ants also seem to be a pretty good enemy of the SHB larvae, so far I have not had much trouble with the ants in the hive.

    4. The best defense is a strong hive in full sun. Since I moved all my hives into the full sun, they have been able to stay ahead of them. Even the smaller hives seem to be able to keep them corralled. With the smaller hives it is critical to not give them more comb than they can protect.

    5. I have done a lot of feral cutouts in my area, all the feral hives have had plenty of hive beetles in them. The bees just keep them corralled, generally in the bottom of the cavity. One interesting thing I discovered was that my Bee Vac separated them from the bees. They are sucked right through the #8 hardware cloth screens in the bee cages and end up as "liquid hive beetle extract" inside the shop vac. When I re-hive the cutout they get a short period of time with out hive beetles, but it does not take long for more beetles find the hive again.

    6. Lastly, I use mostly HSC fully drawn plastic comb in the brood nest area of my hives. The beetles don't seem to like the plastic comb too well, it seems to keep the numbers down really well when starting a package or nuc. I don't have much trouble getting the bees to accept it if I spray it down good with diluted honey before putting it in the hive. I have found that diluted honey works much better than sugar syrup for this purpose, so I always reserve enough of the honey from my own bees for this purpose (don't want to risk using honey from an external source for obvious reasons). I have also found that a single fully drawn wax frame in between two frames of HSC will get the queen laying in the HSC on both sides, then you can work the wax frame out to the edges and replace it with HSC if desired.
    Last edited by Gene Weitzel; 08-17-2007 at 05:08 PM.

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