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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
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    147

    Default is there an acceptable threshold for small hive beetle in hive, or zero tolerance?

    I have just found smh in one of my hives. There were maybe 6-12 beetles, scattered through the different boxes, scampering into and out of cells. Is this cause for action? Is there a threshold, as with mites, above which you need to act, or is any presence of smh a cause to take action? I'm thinking to put some beetle jail traps in, one in each box of the hive. Should I be panicking now?

    Karen in Cincinnati

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Macoupin,Illinois,USA
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    355

    Default Re: is there an acceptable threshold for small hive beetle in hive, or zero tolerance

    i wouldn't panic,i think its a personal preference,if u have traps put them in,personally i wouldn't go buy any this time of year. i just kill the ones i see with my hive tool.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
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    147

    Default Re: is there an acceptable threshold for small hive beetle in hive, or zero tolerance

    Wonder if they might already have laid eggs and are in process of multiplying their numbers...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
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    1,899

    Default Re: is there an acceptable threshold for small hive beetle in hive, or zero tolerance

    There is no way to keep small hive beetles out of your hives. Adult beetles will fly or walk into the hives. The object is to keep your hives strong enough that if they lay an egg, the bees remove it. if the eggs are removed, there will be no larve, and no reproduction. The only damage then is those bees that spend their time chasing beetles rather than doing some other task in the hive.

    If you live in an area where shb are abundant, my theory is, if you open a strong hive hive, and see 50 beetles I don't get concerned. If I open a hive that is weak and I see 50+ beetles, then I need to see if there are any larve in the hive.

    The best solution is to keep the hive strong. Keep you hives in direct sunlight. No shade. Beetles do not like total sunlight. Hard ground, gravel. concrete, around your hives make it more difficult for the larve to burrow into the ground. No soft, damp, ground around your hives. Final line of defense is to use guardstar to break the life cycle of the shb. Some beetle traps work, and they do catch, some of the beetles

    To me, the most important thing is keep the hive strong. If it starts getting weak, reduce the number of frames so that there are bees totally covering every square inch..

    6-12 beetles is not a problem but, keep an eye and make sure they are not multiplying, or your hive is not going down.

    cchoganjr

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Panama City, Florida, USA
    Posts
    591

    Default Re: is there an acceptable threshold for small hive beetle in hive, or zero tolerance

    This is above a reasonable threshold, but the hive is strong and doing well. Application of Checkmite+ was added, a week later no beetles in that location. Hive is pretty much beetle free. Be thankful you are not in a severe beetle area.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/45078863@N05/7926304968/

    in my opinion, the direct sunlight is a myth. My hives in shade and sunlight both suffer the same from SHB. A strong hive is key to surviving a severe infestation. I would say if you see more than 25 to 50 when you lift your covers are a problem that needs remedy. 10 to 25 not that big a deal.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
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    147

    Default Re: is there an acceptable threshold for small hive beetle in hive, or zero tolerance

    So I have two questions in response to the helpful posts here. One is that every time you open the hive, supposedly is an invitation for the shb, as the odors that attract the beetles are more noticeable. So how do you monitor, without having to open the hive more often? And second question is about reducing the hive. I'm trying to make sure my bees have plenty of honey stores for winter, so I'm not sure how to reduce the hive in size. As of now, there are one deep and three mediums on the hive, and they're all either filled or being filled w/honey, or else are serving as brood combs. I don't know how to take any more frames off the hive. The bees aren't thick on all the frames, but are moderately covering them.

  7. #7

    Default Re: is there an acceptable threshold for small hive beetle in hive, or zero tolerance

    Quote Originally Posted by jbeshearse View Post
    in my opinion, the direct sunlight is a myth.
    It may not make a noticeable difference in FL but I can tell you, in no uncertain terms, that the difference here is night and day.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
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    1,899

    Default Re: is there an acceptable threshold for small hive beetle in hive, or zero tolerance

    beemandan... I agree. I never like to disagree with one of my fellow beekeepers over something I cannot prove, so I rarely respond to a comment by a fellow beekeeper if we disagree. Circumanstances are always so different, and what works one place, may or may not work, somewhere else.

    I know bees survive in woods, I know managed colonies that are in some or total shade and do well, but,of my 125+ hives that were suffering from horrible SHB infestations in the past,(starting in 2003, never saw a SHB in Ky. until then) after I moved them into direct sunlight, and did away with inner covers, I have virtually eliminated the SHB problem. (maybe it was the inner covers)(maybe it was the hard ground that made it more difficult for a larve to pulpate into an adult beetle) I can't prove anything, but it is working for me. I left three hives in the woods, years before last, and at the last minute I had to move them also. Fellow beekeepers in my area who have moved their bees out of the shade, have experienced the same results. In Kentucky it works for me, and doesn't have a downside, so I keep all of mine in direct sunlight. I am a Florida resident, and I know the situation in Florida is much worse than here in kentucky. But, starting in 2003 Ky has had a huge problem with SHB, but still, nothing like Florida.

    I don't think it is so much the direct sunlight as it may be the difficulity the larve have in burrowing into the ground to pupate into an adult beetle. Soft, damp, ground just makes it easier for them to complete the life cycle of the SHB.

    At any rate, keep your bees where it works for you. That is the most important thing.

    cchoganjr

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Frederick County, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    415

    Default Re: is there an acceptable threshold for small hive beetle in hive, or zero tolerance

    All the comments have been right-on!

    Assume if you see adults that you have SHB and will need to monitor colonies' strength or watch weaker colonies.
    Strong colonies clean up eggs and larva and corral adults.

    Higher humidity seems to promote SHB success.

    If you do find a larval outbreak, try to isolate the combs and freeze them for a few days.

    Adam Finkelstein
    www.vpqueenbees.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    147

    Default Re: is there an acceptable threshold for small hive beetle in hive, or zero tolerance

    So how do you look through all the frames, in a several box hive, during a season where robbing is common, as well as increasing the risk of attracting more SHB by having the hive open? I don't like to do that kind of complete inspection except in the most favorable conditions and season.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    2,925

    Default Re: is there an acceptable threshold for small hive beetle in hive, or zero tolerance

    I take a screened bottom board with me, set it on the ground or your stand if it fits. When you remove a box, set it on the bottom board, and put the top back on. I put my hive top feeder on mine, keeps them in, and has top venting as well. Next box goes on top of that, then I put the top cover on that box. I do put a queen excluder on the bottom board sometimes, helps keep the bees in but it's not really necessary. After that, the lid moves up as I remove more boxes. Keeps the hive covered up and the bees contained and calm for the most part.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
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    147

    Default Re: is there an acceptable threshold for small hive beetle in hive, or zero tolerance

    Great point. Thanks for the suggestion.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Panama City, Florida, USA
    Posts
    591

    Default Re: is there an acceptable threshold for small hive beetle in hive, or zero tolerance

    If direct sunlight works for you then by all means use that as one part of your management system. For my hives it makes no difference. The ones in the shade fare just as well or poorly as do the ones in direct sunlight. My observation hive which is two frames wide by three frames high and us located outside gets just as overun. And it is glass on both sides. Hence my direct sunlight myth statement.

    But as I said at the start if it works for you then do it. It would just be nice to know what the actual mechanism is that lead to the different results. I have to think it goes back to moisture in the soil as a previous person noted.

  14. #14

    Default Re: is there an acceptable threshold for small hive beetle in hive, or zero tolerance

    Quote Originally Posted by Cleo C. Hogan Jr View Post
    Soft, damp, ground just makes it easier for them to complete the life cycle of the SHB.
    Quote Originally Posted by jbeshearse View Post
    I have to think it goes back to moisture in the soil as a previous person noted.
    I don’t doubt this at all. This year, for the first time in memory, we had measurable rainfall in July and August. I lost about 4 hives to shb. Last year and the year before…zero. About four years ago I moved my last shady yard into full sun. In the years before that those shady yards were impossible. Even if the hive was vigorous and the bees kept the beetles out of the nest, I would literally find hundreds that had been driven up to the top of the inner cover. During the same time my sunny yards would have less than a dozen. All it took was for a hive to go queenless for a few days and the beetles would overrun it.
    So, I too, would agree that Florida hives are in a different environment and I wouldn’t suggest that when a Florida beekeeper experiences something different from me…that those experiences are a myth.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Australia, NSW
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: is there an acceptable threshold for small hive beetle in hive, or zero tolerance

    I regularly killed 70 SHB in my hive, it was in shade, I relocated it 4 miles in direct sun and now see 10, as well as have a trap under the hive now. I think the sun has helped a lot, so has the trap. Spring here now and the wax moth are very active.

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