Any beetle experts here?
I made some splits a while back and in one half of one split the bees abandoned the hive, leaving 3 frames of mostly capped brood. I didn't notice this immediately; it took at least 2 weeks and maybe almost a month. When found the brood was being consumed by maggots, apparently the larval stage of a black beetle which was approximately twice the size usually cited for the small hive beetle. I don't know if it was the infestation which caused the bees to abandon the hive or if it was other causes. At any rate, I saw quite a number of these beetles in the empty hive, all black and about 1/2 inch long, and nearly as broad. The maggots are conical and non-spiny, unlike SHB maggots, and about 1.5 cm long. (The forum software isn't letting me attach a picture for some reason.) There was also a strong smell of decomposition present, but I wouldn't characterize it as the smell of rotting oranges, which is the usual description of the smell of SHB infestation.
So all of this leads me to believe (hope?) that I don't have SHB. But what is it? What kind of beetles are these? I've been beekeeping here in Oregon a long time and this is the first time I've ever seen this.
Re: Any beetle experts here?
Not sure but try this info:
Oil Beetles have an interesting and complex life cycle that includes laying eggs that hatch into mobile larvae that attach themselves to solitary bees. When the bee returns to the hive, the beetle enters with the bee and begins by feeding upon the egg of a bee as well as the food that has been provided to nourish the bee larva. Here is the explanation “First-instar larvae climb to the top of a grass or weed stalk as a group, clump together in the shape of a female solitary ground bee, exude a scent that is the same as, or closely resembles, the pheromones of the female bee, and wait for a male ground bee to come along. When he does, he tries to mate with the clump of larvae, whereupon they individually clamp onto his hairs. He then flies away.
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