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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Ozark, AL
    Posts
    44

    Default Controlling Small Hive Beetles

    Expecting to pick up my first hives in April and am now trying to get some things ready such as my hive stand. One of my concerns raising bees in southeast Alabama is controlling the small hive beetles. If I understand it right part of the SHB’s life cycle requires that beetles complete their larval development and exit the hive to pupate in the soil. Would it help to place my hives on a concrete pad, say the end on my driveway? Could I place my hive stand on top of several inches on gravel and it help to disrupt the beetles life cycle? For control of the SHB in the hive it appears that the Freeman Beetle Trap has good reviews. I welcome all/any of your thoughts and ideas. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    ElDorado,Arkansas,USA
    Posts
    810

    Default Re: Controlling Small Hive Beetles

    I have found that the oil traps like Freemans work best.I have made bottoms with just small screened areas instead of the whole open bottom and have done real good at eliminating them.Also found that any oil trap no matter what size needs to be towards the back and right against the sides.Beetles are ridge runners.Look at your bottom boards and you see them mostly crawling around the edges.Look at this video.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TmlLbk42nY

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Martin, Tn
    Posts
    129

    Default Re: Controlling Small Hive Beetles

    I'll be following this thread as i am declaring war on SHB this year. I have my hives on concrete pads that used to be old grain bins. I have noticed that i don't have nearly as many than i did when i had them on grass when i lived in middle Tn. I live in west Tn now. However, that could be just due to the fact that there and many many more hives in mid tn so general SHB populations in my area now could be much lower. I do still have them though. This year i plan on spraying guardstar around my hives (use it on my cows too). I am also going to use the traps that fatbeeman recommend with the corrugated plastic, boric acid, and crisco. I plan on feeding nonstop pollen patties this year to build as much as possible so SHB control will be of utmost importance. I think i may have a few freeman traps as well buried in the shed that i never used. Will have to dig those out and give them a try. One other thing about having them on concrete, you dont have to weedeat right next to a hive full of angry bees. Thats a plus.
    Jason Young

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    1,926

    Default Re: Controlling Small Hive Beetles

    A couple of years back, a poster from Florida compared his SHB results for one apiary on a concrete pad to this others. The SHB problem was much less on the concrete pad. This did not make sense to some experienced beeks here ... some say it does not matter if the larvae die, because by the time they leave the hive the damage has been done and the hive has been slimed. But thinking for the future, killing the larvae prevents adults.

    Our tiny little apiary has a double layer of weed block under gravel. This probably is not the best environment for baby beetles. We don't have a lot of problem with them, but then again we also use Freeman Beetle Traps, which also kill any varroa mites that fall into them.

    Picking the right site is everything. Low wet areas are bad. Shady is bad. Well-drained and sunny is good.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Lee\'s Summit, MO
    Posts
    1,919

    Default Re: Controlling Small Hive Beetles

    I was having SHB issues. Upon the urging of another beekeeper I moved the hives into full sun. Their numbers reduced dramatically for me (85-90%). You still have to make sure your hives are properly taken care including not giving them too much space. I advise anyone that'll listen to move them out of the tree line and into full sun. It's the easiest, cheapest, and most effective way I've found to deal with hive beetles that doesn't adversely affect the hive or it's harvestable honey in any way.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Hampton, Georgia
    Posts
    188

    Default Re: Controlling Small Hive Beetles

    FULL SUN, this is probably the first and most important.

    If you're worried about SHB pupa on the ground it's already to late. By that time your bees have been slimed.
    Sure be kind to your neighbors and treat with guardstar or nematodes so you don't spread SHB.

    STRONG COLONIES, I can't stress this enough. SHB are the ultimate opportunists and are present and patiently waiting in every colony for even the slightest momentary weakness to pounce. Any weakness will be exploited.

    NO EMPTY SPACE, if it isn't covered by bees it's a devil's play ground for SHB.

    NO HIDING PLACES, any crack, crevice or hole inside the hive is a SHB lounge. Plastic frames are SHB condos.

    CONTROLLED ACCESS, no entrances the bees can't guard. SHB assault colonies from all directions so any opening becomes a point of entry. Bye bye top entrances, open screened bottom boards, propped up covers.

    TRAPS, TRAPS AND MORE TRAPS,
    the freeman bottom board style has been proven to be the most effective for me but it is just one of many that work and no one thing is even close to being fully effective. Think defense in layers.
    Combine all the above plus traps and you can keep them in check but you will never win.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Plumerville, AR
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Controlling Small Hive Beetles

    I love the idea of sawing out a small square in the back right side of the bottom board, say 3 inches by 3 inches and then stapling some #8 hardware screen. Any reason why I shouldn't do this?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Hampton, Georgia
    Posts
    188

    Default Re: Controlling Small Hive Beetles

    Almost forgot, CHICKENS.
    While I can't make any claims to the effectiveness I do like seeing my hens scratching around my colonies. They will eat SHB adult and larvae if given the opportunity and like all things SHB it's a game of percentages. If my biddies just knock back five to ten percent then that's better than none.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    1,926

    Default Re: Controlling Small Hive Beetles

    Quote Originally Posted by mybeeguy View Post
    I love the idea of sawing out a small square in the back right side of the bottom board, say 3 inches by 3 inches and then stapling some #8 hardware screen. Any reason why I shouldn't do this?
    The only solid bottom boards I have are the bottoms for my swarm traps. Everything else is a fully screened bottom (#8 hardware cloth). Our full sized hives are Freeman Beetle Traps (an oil tray under the screened bottom, or you can use an IPM sticky-board for mite counts). The nucs have screened bottom boards with sticky boards, although I recently discovered that I can get nuc-sized Freeman traps.

    Our bee supplier allowed us to customize our beginners sets, and gave the same discount on the upgrades that he did on the basic kit.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Sarasota, FL
    Posts
    164

    Default Re: Controlling Small Hive Beetles

    I made some of these beetle traps:


    They are a pain because you have to put an empty super on top but they seem to be effective. They also require no harsh chemicals.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    1,926

    Default Re: Controlling Small Hive Beetles

    Here's one kind of screened bottom I don't recommend: double screened. We picked up a nuc last summer, and for some reason the bottom board was double screened. I'm guessing this lets you stack nucs. We borrowed the hardware to return once we moved the frames into our own woodenware.

    When we got to our apiary, I picked up the nuc and a hoard of SHB ran out. While the hive itself did not have a heavy infestation, the beetles found a safe refuge in the double screen. There are reasons to use double screens, but I would expect this result if beetles are around. There must be some way to put some lethal trap in there.

    Given the new 8-frame home with a Freeman trap, the bees had the problem fully under control within a few days.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Ozark, AL
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Controlling Small Hive Beetles

    I just join this forum yesterday and it is awesome to be so welcomed and for you folks to be so helpful. Know I have a lot to learn and much will happen after I have my hives but to receive so much knowledge from experience beekeepers is priceless. Seems that attacking SHB and other pests is best by using a multiple pronged attack. First will be the Freeman traps or making the small “wire traps” in the bottom corner of my hive but I do have one more question about using these traps. I saw that when using the traps that you sprinkled powdered sugar on the frames which caused your bees to be more aggressive and they chased the beetle around the hive and the SHBs take cover in the trap(s). Well my question is two parts: How often should you “sugar” your hive? And does the action of sprinkling your with powdered sugar make your bees more aggressive/difficult to work.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    1,926

    Default Re: Controlling Small Hive Beetles

    You don't "need" to hit them with powdered sugar to make them chase beetles. A strong population of bees just loves to chase beetles in their spare time. Michael Bush says it encourages them chase beetles, and his opinion is valued here. The other thing powdered sugar does is make them groom, which can cause varroa mites to drop. It is not a very effective means of varroa control, but on a single-deep colony it may help a little, particularly if the mites drop onto a death trap like an oil tray or sticky board. Powdered sugar is almost harmless to the bees ... a study showed that it can kill larvae about to pupate but you have to nearly fill the cells for the harm to occur. A dusting is harmless. It seems to distract the bees rather than make them aggressive.

    The problem for me is getting the sugar dust on uniformly. It likes to clump. A shaker of some sort may work for you, but I would up getting an insecticide duster, one of those old-fashioned pump gizmos, at a garden supply store. With some tinkering it did make a decent sugar duster. I still use it occasionally. I prefer to dust the frames as we inspect (husband-wife team, and this takes one to hold, one to spray). That gives a more uniform coverage. Shaking over the tops cannot possibly give good coverage.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Manning, SC
    Posts
    3,951

    Default Re: Controlling Small Hive Beetles

    Quote Originally Posted by mybeeguy View Post
    I love the idea of sawing out a small square in the back right side of the bottom board, say 3 inches by 3 inches and then stapling some #8 hardware screen.
    Is #8 hardware screen large enough or do you something bigger for the beetles to fall / get thru to the oil tray?
    http://OxaVap.com Your source for the Varrox Mite Killing
    OA Vaporizer "One of the highest ranked" by R. Oliver

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Mondamin, Iowa
    Posts
    231

    Default Re: Controlling Small Hive Beetles

    https://www.facebook.com/reapingselfreliance
    Number one killer of bees are beekeepers who wont read any bee books.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Manning, SC
    Posts
    3,951

    Default Re: Controlling Small Hive Beetles

    Quote Originally Posted by Swampsquash View Post
    I made some of these beetle traps:
    They are a pain because you have to put an empty super on top but they seem to be effective. They also require no harsh chemicals.
    But won't you get tons of "crazy" comb built up in that empty super?
    http://OxaVap.com Your source for the Varrox Mite Killing
    OA Vaporizer "One of the highest ranked" by R. Oliver

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    1,308

    Default Re: Controlling Small Hive Beetles

    No one has mentioned this yet, so I will. For controlling SHB, I like to use Diatomaceous Earth. All my topbar hives have screened bottom boards where I can insert the IPM board underneath. I put the DE on the solid bottom board and make sure the bees cannot get into that space. The bees drive the beetles and larvae down into that and it suffocates their breathing holes/ or cuts their soft bodies to pieces (whichever research paper you want to quote). However the mechanism of death, it works very well for me. I believe it also helps to keep the varroa mite from returning back up to the hive population. I do use powdered sugar as a means of varroa control and find after a treatment (once a month), I have many more SHB on the DE dust. You do need to change it frequently as it clumps together in the humidity, and then it doesn't work very well. They just walk off the pile.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Hampton, Georgia
    Posts
    188

    Default Re: Controlling Small Hive Beetles

    #8 works as they can squeeze through. I think #7 would be better and in the future will be what I use.
    Oil trays are a PIA, aside from spillage you get every piece of trash and any water produced in the hive finds it's way into the tray and since oil floats on water the oil goes away.
    I save oil for when it's obviously needed. The rest of the time vaseline sticky boards work as does diatomaceous earth, quick lime or trappers glue/tangle foot (the used on glue boards) but you still have the trash and water issues.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,299

    Default Re: Controlling Small Hive Beetles

    I use oil traps with great success. I stopped planting cucumbers and cantaloupe and that seems to help, as well. DE works too, just not as fast.

    If you live somewhere with big SHB pressure, pollen patties only make matters worse; consider mixing your pollen sub into a pint of 2:1 syrup--the bees get the sub and the beetles get nothing.

    HTH

    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper and Rusty's Bees.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    ElDorado,Arkansas,USA
    Posts
    810

    Default Re: Controlling Small Hive Beetles

    Quote Originally Posted by warrior View Post
    #8 works as they can squeeze through. I think #7 would be better and in the future will be what I use.
    Oil trays are a PIA, aside from spillage you get every piece of trash and any water produced in the hive finds it's way into the tray and since oil floats on water the oil goes away.
    I save oil for when it's obviously needed. The rest of the time vaseline sticky boards work as does diatomaceous earth, quick lime or trappers glue/tangle foot (the used on glue boards) but you still have the trash and water issues.
    You are right about the water.That is one reason I use a small oil trap along the back edge of my boards.Beetles run the edge back and fall in and I get very little water because of the hives tilted forwards.

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