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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    SE Texas
    Posts
    81

    Default screened inner cover...ahaa moment

    Last year a friend bought screened inner covers to help with summertime ventilation. When we checked his hives I spotted a small hive beetle running around on the wooden frame above the screen....ahaa!!! The black bug escaped the bees by fleeing through the screen.

    I built me some screened inner covers but I used aluminimum window screen instead of hardware cloth. I put them under the telescoping covers with 1/4" wooden blocks to hold them up for the air to flow.

    Sure enough...small hive beetles try to get inside by slipping under the tel cover and they can't figure out how to get in. And they are easy to squish (though I've never had a big beetle problem in my apiary). So we changed out the hardware cloth on his inner covers as a beetle control measure.

    Fast forward to this year.... I introduced a swarm into the nuc bottom of my brand new Ulster Observation Hive. Rather than leave the windowed top out in the weather, I made a telescoping cover and (window) screened inner cover and put the box to the real SHB test. In the past I have been unable to keep bees in the back yard because of huge numbers of hive beetles coming from somewhere. Undeterred, I set up the nuc bottom out back with an AJ's Beetle Eater inside and the new inner cover. The first week's count:

    40 SHB's squished on the inner cover screen
    4 SHB's dead in the Beetle Eater

    It sure will be easier to use the observation hive if I can just run out back to set it up for the next day. So far so good...in fact when I squished a SHB the other day, a bee grabbed a hold of it from below the screen and held on as I tried to get rid of it.
    Last edited by Bizzybee; 05-08-2009 at 08:35 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,273

    Default

    Sounds like you're onto something there, Great!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    1,244

    Default

    It sounds like the beetles prefer to enter the hive from the top, rather than through the front door. Interesting... I suppose that those who don't need a screened inner cover could adapt a standard one by glueing (silicone seal) some window screen over the hole in the center to keep the beetles at bay.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    SE Texas
    Posts
    81

    Default

    I'd recommend window screen over the hole in a conventional inner cover..but I wouldn't use silcone seal. The stuff has a pretty powerful odor that seems to linger for a long time. A bead of Elmer's (with a couple of day's drying time) would be my choice.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    SE Texas
    Posts
    81

    update

    Yesterday my new Ulster Observation Hive debuted to 200 or so third and fourth graders and it was a real hit.

    I carefully inspected each frame when I moved all the bees back into the nuc box. I saw only one hive beetle (squished). It showed up from somewhere on the empty windowed top when I went to put it away in the garage. An hour or so later I squished 3 on the window screen. I went back out after dark and quished 4 more. Today I checked at dusk..none. But 3 hours later there were 4 to squish, My unscientific conclusion is that they do indeed find it easier to get in the top...and they do it after dark. And as I expected, it looks like it is going to be a battle controlling these obnoxious pests. Squishing them makes it almost fun.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Land O Lakes, FL
    Posts
    269

    Default

    Intersting for sure.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    1,244

    Default

    Last week, at the local bee club, a professional beekeeper made the statement that if you store "sticky" supers in areas where SHB are prevalent the critters will invade them and make a mess. So, combining that info with the data from SL TX we could form a hypothisis regarding SHB.

    It is the odor of honey that attracts the SHB.
    The odor from the hive will be strongest at the top of the hive due to the natural convection heat column. Air being drawn in through the bottom and leaking out the top around the edges of the telescoping cover.
    The SHB detect the odor and follow it to the strongest point, entering at the edge of the top cover and then down through the hole in the inner cover (the edges of the inner cover are well sealed by the bees so no entrance).

    Fuzzy

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    berkshire county MA
    Posts
    1,474

    Default

    now you just need to make a solar powered electric squisher to fit on top of the inner cover

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Russellville, Alabama
    Posts
    112

    Default

    or a solar bug zapper The only draw back here in the south is you will have to put up no trespassing signs to keep the rednecks from sitting up their lawnchairs and drinking their beer! Nothing like outdoor entertainment on a friday night!
    Michael
    2nd year beek, 3 hives!

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