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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sealy, Texas, United States of America
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    3

    Default Lots of beetles, no apparent problem

    I was watching some videos on you tube and came across this one of a cutout in Georgia:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&fe...&v=j-zAJKoHmjA

    Near the beginning he mentions a hive beetle trap he likes and sells, and then as he begins to cut out the comb you can see lots of beetles running around. So at first I thought,"well it sure is good he has traps." But then I started putting together some other observations.

    The hive he is cutting out has been there a long time. It is big and he explains that it appears to have recently cast off a swarm and raised a new queen. The queen seemed to be productive, as well as the rest of the bees. The colony appeared to be in great shape, in spite of the large beetle population.

    I realize there are a lot actual facts that I don't know about this hive, but it seems like the beetles were not hindering the hive at all.

    I am not really sure what question I am trying to ask, maybe I would just like to hear other people's thoughts on this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
    Posts
    5,018

    Default Re: Lots of beetles, no apparent problem

    If bees were able to eliminate the eggs and larvae, would the beetles be much of a problem?

    As with mites, a beetle resistant bee must utilize multiple methods of suppression. Bees don't seem to be able to do much to the beetles with their hard shells, but what other ways could they prevent beetles from being a problem? It's not the beetle adult forms that cause most of the damage, it's the larvae.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  3. #3

    Default Re: Lots of beetles, no apparent problem

    There was a time when I would open a hive and see dozens of small hive beetles on the inner cover and my heart would sink. I’ve since changed my view. The most important quality of beetle suppression, in my opinion, are bees that drive them as far away from the brood nest as possible….and its hard to get much further than the top of an inner cover. The colonies that are in distress are the ones with beetles all over the comb in the brood area.
    Make no mistake….sequestering beetles away from the nest takes a toll on the colony but in areas of big beetle populations it is the best defense….again, in my opinion.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sealy, Texas, United States of America
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Lots of beetles, no apparent problem

    That seems to be the case with this particular hive. At least that's all that is visible from the camera. The beetles were on the outer combs of the hive. There is no way to tell from the video if the beetles are closer to the brood nest.

    So this hive was pretty wide, allowing for the bees to keep the beetles further from the nest. I don't know how practical it is, but would having a hive box that was substantially larger (at least in width and length) than a typical langstroth or top bar hive make a difference?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Lots of beetles, no apparent problem

    I believe that the key is to have a big, healthy population of bees in a queenright hive. If the physical dimensions of the hive are too large, the bees will be spread too thinly to patrol for invaders. In my opinion, a conventional ten (or eight) frame hive is fine if the bees in it meet the above test.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
    Posts
    863

    Default Re: Lots of beetles, no apparent problem

    The beetles were probably corralled up by the bees until he started to mess with the hive. Once you set the beetles free they scatter.
    I thought that beetles did most of the damage to combs with honey?
    If you use beetle traps were do you put them? Over brood or frames of honey?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Lots of beetles, no apparent problem

    Quote Originally Posted by sfisher View Post
    I thought that beetles did most of the damage to combs with honey?
    The way it usually happens is a female shb oviposits her eggs beneath the cap of a pupating bee’s cell. When those eggs hatch the shb larvae go on a rampage, eating everything. They’ll eat bee pupae, larvae, pollen and honey. While they need carbohydrates (honey), they also must have protein, vitamins and minerals (all the rest). The most obvious destruction may seem to be the honey as it ferments and turns to slime, but it is not any more substantial than the damage in the brood nest. If you live in an shb infested area and put a nice big glob of pollen sub on your bees….go back in a day or two and take a look. It’ll be a mass of shb larvae. You see, the shb need all the stuff in the sub and the bees don’t defend it as vigorously as they do their brood….so it is a grand opportunity for the beetles.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  8. #8

    Default Re: Lots of beetles, no apparent problem

    This is one my favorite videos. I want to get down there one of these days and meet this guy. He seems really down-to-earth to me, and he makes me laugh. This video has convinced me to refer cutouts to other beekeepers.
    Greg Whitehead, Ten Mile, TN
    Blog - http://gregsbees.blogspot.com/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
    Posts
    318

    Default Re: Lots of beetles, no apparent problem

    This is just something interesting I saw in a top bar hive. I had left a wood spacer laying on top of the bars under the top cover. When I raised the cover, there were bees lined up down each side of the spacer. I assumed they were eating something along the edges although I knew that there should not be anything there to eat. When I picked up the wood spacer, about twenty beetles shot out from under it. The bees had found a place to "corral" the beetles and were not letting them out. I've seen this several times now. As long as there is enough room under the piece of spare wood laying on top for the beetles to get under, the bees use it to keep them there.

    Also, in a top bar hive, when I have my follower board all the way to the end, up against the end wall of the hive, it looks like the bees also use this as a beetle holding area. They don't bother the beetles while they're in the crack between the follower and the end of the hive, but they don't let them out, either.
    Last edited by SteveBee; 03-26-2013 at 11:11 AM. Reason: spelling

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
    Posts
    5,018

    Default Re: Lots of beetles, no apparent problem

    I wonder if they could succeed in starving the beetles to death.

    Sam Comfort recently reported bees flipping beetles over and dragging them out by their legs and bees intercepting flying beetles in Hawaii.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
    Posts
    318

    Default Re: Lots of beetles, no apparent problem

    It would be interesting and easy to run a test to see how long it took for a beetle to starve. I just hope PETA doesn't find out if I decide to try.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Lots of beetles, no apparent problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    I wonder if they could succeed in starving the beetles to death.
    Although the bees will sequester beetles away from their brood nest....it has been shown that the bees will then feed them. They aren't going to starve.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Fayetteville, Arkansas
    Posts
    5,018

    Default Re: Lots of beetles, no apparent problem

    Do all bees feed beetles?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
    Posts
    863

    Default Re: Lots of beetles, no apparent problem

    No only the nurse bees
    https://www.facebook.com/stevesbees99
    Please visit my page, Thanks

  15. #15

    Default Re: Lots of beetles, no apparent problem

    Like so many other things, it isn’t a simple feed/no feed. Hungry bee nestmates have a way to trigger a feeding response from their sisters. Small hive beetles have co-opted this and use the same trigger. Remembering that everything inside a hive happens in full (or nearly full) darkness…..bees respond largely to pheromones, smells, sounds and touches. Therefore distinguishing between a small hive beetle vs another bee’s request for food is problematic. If you discovered a race of bees that didn’t feed beetles it would also likely reflect in their willingness to share with their nestmates. It would surely result in other less positive ramifications within the colony.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

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