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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    forsyth, NC, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Lots of small hive beetle - anything I can do?

    Second year beekeeper with 2 hives in close proximity to one another. We're in the piedmont of NC where we have warm summers, high humidity and right now lots of sunshine - no frost yet. Both of our hives have done fairly well this year though honey stores have never been strong. Both hives were started from packages in late Spring and missed a significant part of the nectar flow which is tulip poplar around here. Both queens have done well though and have had lots of bees.
    We've always had a few SHB in each hive and we installed traps early in the season. Traps have always caught beetles and every time we go in, we'll pinch a few beetles with a pair of tweezers.
    We started feeding both hives about 2 months ago as the dearth started but I've been puzzled why they haven't seemed able to build up their honey stores as much as we've been feeding them.
    As temps are a little cooler now, we have not been entering the hive as often except to feed them (we're using the collins feeders which is a top feeder: upside down bucket with pinholes in the top.) We went in one of the hives two days ago to take advantage of a particularly warm afternoon. That hive is four medium supers with 2 frames that are pretty much the brood boxes and two honey supers on top. There were beetles everywhere. We discovered that the top super where the bees had drawn comb and were filling with honey, was sparsely filled with honey and crawling with beetles. Adult beetles. I saw no beetle larvae at all. I did see a little evidence of what I thought was beetle eggs in some of the honey. We reduced the size of that hive by two supers, basically removing what was to have been their honey stores. Of those two supers, 7-8 frames had some honey but high beetle presence. We put those 7-8 frames in the freezer to zap the beetles. The remaining 10+ frames had almost no honey though a little pollen. I removed them entirely and put them out in the yard, a distance away from the hives thinking the bees could salvage what they could from those frames (and they did not need all that extra space on their hive.)
    Yesterday we took the 7-8 frames from the freezer and put them back on the hive (the hive now has three supers). I think that the beetles have fouled some of the honey stores in those frames, even though we killed whatever larvae and adult beetles were present by freezing them. However, I'm sure there are many more beetles in the hive and I'm not sure there is anything we can do at this point. We don't want to use chemicals if we can avoid it, though would a chemical treatment be of value when beetle infestation is so high.
    Thanks for reading this lengthy post. Any thoughts on next steps would be appreciated. This report is about one of two hives and while I have not inspected the second hive very thoroughly, there is evidence that hive is similarly affected by small hive beetles.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    7,106

    Default Re: Lots of small hive beetle - anything I can do?

    Coumaphos, Checkmite + is effective, though it might damage your queen. Put a flat black cover on the hive. You can make a baited trap with rotten bananas mixed with apple cider vinegar, let it ferment overnight, then put the banana mix in the middle of a pool of kitchen oil. Make sure bees cannot get in and also die in the oil.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Liberty, Ms.
    Posts
    139

    Default Re: Lots of small hive beetle - anything I can do?

    Are you using solid bottom boards? I use the screen bottom boards with the oil trap trays. They catch lots of SHB's. I rarely see beetles in side the hive. Reduce down any unneeded space to help the bees combat the beetles.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    AUBURN IN.
    Posts
    93

    Default Re: Lots of small hive beetle - anything I can do?

    djdup--what size screen wire you use

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Newport News, Va
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: Lots of small hive beetle - anything I can do?

    We have them bad here in Virginia and this is how I have kept them in check:
    1. If you feed patties, only put a small amount in at a time. 2" x 2".
    2. Use traps, I like the beetle jail, they are cheap and I put one on every level.
    3. Reduce entrances to just on small entrance.
    4. Make sure the hive is dense as possible.
    5. Last thing which I do is take shop vac and duct tape a small tube to the end and use it in the hive to suck every last one I can find to give the hive a fighting chance when they get overrun. The tube should be about 1/4" of 3/8". It should be able to suck them right out of the comb.
    Hope this helps!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Liberty, Ms.
    Posts
    139

    Default Re: Lots of small hive beetle - anything I can do?

    Quote Originally Posted by allniter View Post
    djdup--what size screen wire you use


    #6 aluminum mesh
    Here is the link to the SBB's that I use. IMO they work really well and I will use them on all my hives.
    http://www.greenbeehives.com/ipk-sma...d-painted.html

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    forsyth, NC, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Lots of small hive beetle - anything I can do?

    Thanks to all of the good suggestions above... really appreciate your thoughts and experience. We are using screened bottoms but I have no traps down there and the product from Greenbeehives looks good - especially if you've had good experience with it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,544

    Default Re: Lots of small hive beetle - anything I can do?

    Quote Originally Posted by dlobb View Post
    ...We are using screened bottoms but I have no traps down there ...
    If you have a double bottom board -screen-gap-solid, as an emergency measure, you could use just sticky board with a lot of oil - if beehive leveled well, oil will just stay on the board (well,most of it). It needs to be replenished often, but it would start working immediately! You need to make sure that bees have no access to the oil. I also made a sort of the "border" on the plastic (not sticky, oily) board with caulk (silicone) to hold oil...
    Серёжа, Sergey

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    forsyth, NC, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Lots of small hive beetle - anything I can do?

    спасиба! Thank you - good idea on the "emergency" oily board, Sergey.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Manning, SC
    Posts
    2,483

    Default Re: Lots of small hive beetle - anything I can do?

    Quote Originally Posted by AmericasBeekeeper View Post
    Put a flat black cover on the hive.
    Explain please.........
    http://OxaVap.com Your source for the Varrox Mite Killing
    OA Vaporizer "One of the highest ranked" by R. Oliver

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    7,106

    Default Re: Lots of small hive beetle - anything I can do?

    Bees tolerate heat much better than beetles and bees chase beetles to the upper corners of the hive. I have scorched black covers when I see beetles and light gray covers when I cannot count beetles. Florida is the Sunshine State, but catch all the heat you can.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    mt. airy, surry county, nc
    Posts
    217

    Default Re: Lots of small hive beetle - anything I can do?

    how effective would it be to spray some kind of insecticide on the ground underneath the hives?

    i thought this might work since the pupa goes to the ground for the life cycle
    "Any fool can learn, the trick is to understand - Einstein"

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Houston, Texas, USA
    Posts
    460

    Default Re: Lots of small hive beetle - anything I can do?

    I am also dealing with them here in Houston. I find that the combination attack works well. I use the Country Rubes SBB and an oil tray will help a lot (just make sure there is no bee space access or you will kill as many bees as beetles). Also I use the nematodes from below that are SHB specific, no it does not cure all but it does knock down the population in the ground before they get to the hive. All of the other suggestions above help too. I also find squishing as many as I see very satisfying...

    http://www.bugsforgrowers.com/produc...abditis-indica
    Mike
    N5RWH - 9a

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    7,106

    Default Re: Lots of small hive beetle - anything I can do?

    The ground drench treatment is called GuardStar. Like any ground treatment including nematodes, it is limited by weather conditions like rain for GuardStar and lack of rain for nematodes.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    1,999

    Default Re: Lots of small hive beetle - anything I can do?

    I use the banana/cider-vingegar/veggie-oil mixture inside my BeetleJail Jr's. Seems to work well. BeetleJail has their new version which I I think I like better than the old version. The new ones have deeper reservoirs so you can have deep oil and still be away from the top...helps keep from spilling. I haven't used the bait compartments in them due to the fact that I mix my lure in with my oil. Another design change is that they've managed to lower the slotted surface of the traps down so that they are a touch lower than the tops of the frames...beetles seem to like to run "downhill". Nice traps. I run from 2-4 in each of my hives.

    Here is a link to modification that I did to my existing screened bottom boards. It's fairly simple and cheap...and works.

    Simple oil tray mod for sbb's...


    Best wishes,
    Ed

  16. #16

    Default Re: Lots of small hive beetle - anything I can do?

    Late in the season (early September) I see lots of beetles. If the hive population is high, the colony queenright and I don’t see any beetle larvae, I leave them alone. No traps, no pesticides…zip. By late season, I try not to open the hives unnecessarily. It is disruptive and allows the beetles to escape from the corners and crevices where the bees have driven them. I do try not to leave too much extra space for the bees to protect. No empty supers this time of year. Now that the weather has gotten cool, beetles are even less of a threat. They are now simply trying to survive the winter. By spring their numbers will be low…and as far north as you are even lower. Unless there is some other problem in your hive….you should be fine.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

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