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  1. #1
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    Default A Different kind of SHB trap

    I made and deployed about a dozen of these around 6 weeks ago...


    I call it the "Bottom Board of Death"

    I didn't know at the time if they would work at all, but as you can see from the dead beetles in the lower left quadrant that it does at least work to some extent.



    As you can see it is a screened bottom board (or inner cover) made of two pieces of window screen with a space between them.



    In each of the inner corners there is a small hole (made with a #16 framing nail) big enough for hive beetles to go through but too small for bees.

    The idea is that the bees naturally crowd the beetles into corners, the beetles get into the space between the screens and either can't figure out how to get out, or the bees don't let them out, and they die of starvation/dehydration. There is no corresponding corner structure inside of the trap to help the beetles even find their way back to the hole.

    The advantages that this design has over other traps -

    No maintenance, you could leave it installed all year.
    It doubles as an IPM screened bottom board - the small screen holes don't let SHB enter, but still let mites fall out.

    It contains no oil, bait, or poison. Oil traps are nasty, and if you don't empty them they could probably cause bees to abscond. Oil kills bees at least as well as it kills beetles. In this trap they just dry up and die.

    Other traps rely on the beetles being clumsy enough to fall in - this one takes advantage of their natural tendancy to be crowded into corners by the bees.

    I knocked these together - as simply as possible - just to see if it would work at all and to get an idea of what needs to be different. Obviously a finished design could, and should incorporate things like, a convenient way to install a mite count/bottom closure board, and a landing board, and a plug to empty out dead beetles. But at this point I don't really care about those things - I would just like to figure out how to make it better at trapping hive beetles.

    Things that I think might make it better at trapping beetles:

    The original design has trap entrance holes on both the top and bottom - the idea being that beetles trying to enter the hive from the bottom would enter the trap from the outside (which they probably do) but I suspect that more of them blunder out through those openings than they are worth. Also, when used as an inner cover the bees propolize the holes shut on the inside surface, so they don't work - but it still traps some beetles which are trying to enter the hive from the outside - but not very many. They don't propolize it when used as a bottom board BTW.

    I think that the grid structure that funnels the beetles into the trap might work better if it was taller - or it might also work better if there was a small piece of sheet metal (2"x2" maybe) stapled on as a roof over the area where the grids cross. The point of either would be to make it easier for the bees to crowd the beetles into the holes. There also might be a more optimum shape for the crowding area.

    Holes in the outside corners might work just as well, and would be a simpler design - I didn't try them this time, because I reasoned (probably incorrectly) that the beetles would find their way out through them more easily. But in retrospect, in a reasonably strong hive the bees would probably hold them in until they starved.

    More space between the screens might be better - or worse. It would let it hold more dead beetles in any event.

    I would certainly be interested in any improvements that other people come up with.

    I wouldn't be surprised if someone else hasn't already done something like this, but I have never seen any such and I came up with it independently. I wish for anyone and everyone that wants to freely use, or modify it in any way they want - For personal, commercial, or retail use. Just don't try to patent (for what that would be worth) anything based upon this design or I will claim "prior art."

    This is not going to be any kind of a magic bullet, but every little bit helps. No matter what else you do - weak, queenless, underfed, robbed out, mite ridden, or diseased colonies are going to secumb to SHB in the south. This is just one more arrow in the quiver.
    Last edited by David LaFerney; 08-13-2013 at 09:12 AM.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  2. #2
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    Default Re: A Different kind of SHB trap

    I Like the design.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  3. #3
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    Manning, SC
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    Default Re: A Different kind of SHB trap

    Anything you can do to kill the buggers, I like! Keep us informed............
    http://OxaVap.com
    Your source for the Varrox Vaporizer, "One of the highest ranked" by R. Oliver

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Palm beach Florida USA
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    152

    Default Re: A Different kind of SHB trap

    It looks like there would be room at the entrance to bend the bottom wire to a v. It would prevent all but the lucky ones from getting out. Besides i think they will try to go up to the smell.

    Gene

  5. #5
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    Apr 2012
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    Jefferson Co., WV, USA
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    Default Re: A Different kind of SHB trap

    Its hard to see in your pic with the wood background but were there the same number of beetles in each square or more in the back? If they are following the edges more in the back a single divider running from front to back with holes in each back corner might funnel more towards where they want to do anyway. Would a simple hinge on the bottom let you empty them out easier or complicate it much more and probably add cracks the beetles could escape from, scratch the hinge, maybe leaving their corpses in there will actually attract more adult beetles into the trap? Now you have to think of a snazzy name for it. WVMJ
    Meadmaking with WVMJ at Meads and Elderberry Winemaking

  6. #6
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    Default Re: A Different kind of SHB trap

    The beetles in the picture are mostly dead. Once they die they just roll around in there so it would be pretty easy to shake them out of even a rather small hole.

    So I just kind of shook them around until they were visible for the picture.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  7. #7
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    Hampstead, NC USA
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    Default Re: A Different kind of SHB trap

    I discovered this tactic as well a few weeks ago. I was going to try to make some similar but without the cross of wood but never got around to it.
    My idea is to have a normal SBB with the same mesh as we both have but secure a screen "sock" of finer mesh that the SHB would collect in. One could reach under the hive and open the sock & clear out whatever is in it.
    I know for sure the sock would collect enough dead SHB & plain old hive debris, all of which is super attractive to SHB, that the sock itself would become an attractant and a huge mass of SHB larvae. I've seen this happen to piles of hive trash left in a box-it became on oozing mound of SHB maggots.
    Maybe an easier to empty trash collecting container such as a ball jar. This would be heavy enough to keep the cone shape in the sock. I know the SHB could still climb up the fine screen but I think more would walk into the self baiting bottom container.
    Anyway it would be low budget and easy to make & use. Plus a glass collection container would allow one to view these bastards struggle before dying. Take it to the freezer and the next day there would be thousands of potential hive crashing SHB & SHB larvae killed. Dump the thawing lump of dead SHB matter on the ground near a fire ant hill and the circle of life, African insect style, would be fun to watch.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: A Different kind of SHB trap

    So far I have not seen enough debris inside one of these for any of that to happen, basically anything fine enough to go in through the top falls out through the bottom - which is fine with me.

    A friend of mine (very experienced hobby bee keeper) salts (pool, sidewalk, or livestock salt - whatever is cheap and available) the ground under and around his hive stands - enough to suppress weed growth, and says he rarely sees hive beetles at all. Cause and effect? Who knows, but cheap and easy to try.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  9. #9
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    Sep 2012
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    Lutz, FL, USA
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    Default Re: A Different kind of SHB trap

    I wonder is putting on top of the hive (under the lid) rather than on the bottom would work better. I noticed that in my hives beetles are usually herded in the corners of the top lid. Just a thought.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: A Different kind of SHB trap

    I have tried them in that position and it catches a few, but the bees propolize a lot of the screen and the entrance holes on the inside of it, so no beetles can enter the trap from inside the hive. It catches more as a bottom board.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  11. #11
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    Default Re: A Different kind of SHB trap

    I think this particular trap style is best placed on the bottom. SHB are clumsy and fall easily. In the confines of the hive they don't have space to open their wings and just fly back up.
    I have found a lot at the top but as many or more cornered in the bottom board. The SHB flying in as well as those that get forced, or fall to the bottom would likely fall through the first screen. They don't have legs that allow them to climb & cling like many other insects. I doubt they can easily climb around on 1/8" screen?

  12. #12
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    Default Re: A Different kind of SHB trap

    Except this screen is too small for them to fall through. It doesn't work like that.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  13. #13
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    Default Re: A Different kind of SHB trap

    Sure it does. That's how the beetles got in between the two types of screen. That is IF you are talking about the screen in the OP???
    I've used #8 mesh before and nearly all SHB I've dumped on it fall through.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: A Different kind of SHB trap

    I have been thinking outside the box on shb. I have tried to close every opening with screen door mash,and just leaving a small opening for the bees to enter. I'm still finding beetles in the hive. I'm trying to come up with a ideal that would keep the shb from just flying into the hive passed the guards. I would like to make it where the guards have a chance to stop the beetles before they enter the brood chamber. Does anyonepp have any ideals on this?

  15. #15
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    Default Re: A Different kind of SHB trap

    Quote Originally Posted by dphillipm View Post
    I have been thinking outside the box on shb. I have tried to close every opening with screen door mash,and just leaving a small opening for the bees to enter. I'm still finding beetles in the hive. I'm trying to come up with a ideal that would keep the shb from just flying into the hive passed the guards. I would like to make it where the guards have a chance to stop the beetles before they enter the brood chamber. Does anyonepp have any ideals on this?
    That would be a tough one. I think SHB can sneak through tiny cracks. I'm also not sure that guard bees, or house bee for that matter, can do anything to SHB other than chase them. A SHB entering a hive might get badgered a bit but likely can walk right in after a little harassment.
    I've read that bees try to chew the SHB legs but I've never seen a bee do anything more than chase SHB although I've seen plenty of instances where the bees were able to confine SHB with pro polis.
    I'm certain that the bees keep the SHB in check by keeping them moving so they cannot lay large numbers of eggs. I believe that some eggs make their way into the hives but, if bee numbers are high and egg numbers are low, the bees remove them or the hatched larvae. When bee numbers get low the SHB lay gobs of eggs and the result is a wretched mess.
    I try to keep my hives populated enough where the bees will cover all frames that have resources. If I have a double deep for example that doesn't have bees to cover all 20 frames I'll put empty drawn comb or plain foundation at the ends. This still gives the SHB a place to hide but if I find too many I'll put traps in.
    I have found almost zero beetles in hives that are jammed.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: A Different kind of SHB trap

    Strong healthy populations are absolutely the first line of defense against beetles, unfortunately that often interferes with being able to give a hive room to grow, make increase, prevent swarming, or even store honey.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  17. #17
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    Default Re: A Different kind of SHB trap

    Yup. That's the point I made earlier about these pests making beekeeping very frustrating and often unenjoyable.
    Hives have to be on the verge of swarming or be susceptible to SHB slime.
    So you have a highly populated hive you were lucky enough to build up and guess what? You also have a huge potential for deadly high varroa population to go with it.
    Needless to say some bees take care of varroa themselves but really these are either from queens bred for this, which don't last forever, or timely, effective and often expensive (labor &/or $) treatment.
    I know several will claim they have bees with no varroa problems and do not treat. IMO these are new beeks that have hives young enough where varroa has not yet "found" them. Once you have 4 or more (maybe less) hives for 2 years + I'll bet $ varroa damage is soon in the offing.
    Developing a SHB entry defense system would take a huge burden off a whole lot of beeks.
    I look forward to seeing one. The sooner the better.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: A Different kind of SHB trap

    I haven't set out to watch how they come in but forcing them to use just the bee entrance by making all joints tight makes sense to me. maybe they aren't all going to find it. Also if they all walk straight in then using the plastic corrugated signs board at the entrance would trap a lot. The bees would just go over it and the beetle into it. Just a thought from a newbie.

    Gene

  19. #19
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    Default Re: A Different kind of SHB trap

    I think you & I are on the same track.
    I think a mechanical SHB excluder at the entrance is a cheap thing to prototype & worth the effort.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: A Different kind of SHB trap

    Quote Originally Posted by challenger View Post
    Yup. That's the point I made earlier about these pests making beekeeping very frustrating and often unenjoyable.
    Hives have to be on the verge of swarming or be susceptible to SHB slime.
    So you have a highly populated hive you were lucky enough to build up and guess what? You also have a huge potential for deadly high varroa population to go with it.
    Needless to say some bees take care of varroa themselves but really these are either from queens bred for this, which don't last forever, or timely, effective and often expensive (labor &/or $) treatment.
    I know several will claim they have bees with no varroa problems and do not treat. IMO these are new beeks that have hives young enough where varroa has not yet "found" them. Once you have 4 or more (maybe less) hives for 2 years + I'll bet $ varroa damage is soon in the offing.
    Developing a SHB entry defense system would take a huge burden off a whole lot of beeks.
    I look forward to seeing one. The sooner the better.
    Actually I've seen something like that in a video somewhere before. The beetles go down through a beetle sized hole into a trap, and the larger bees go over it to enter the hive.

    But I agree - to me SHB are worse than anything else that I have encountered including varroa, because they ruin valuable comb, pollen, brood and even honey if you aren't careful - resources that are harder to replace than bees to a certain extent. When I see hives that I think have crossed into a real danger zone for beetles I shake it out so that the bees have to beg into other hives and freeze or dispose of the frames as I judge appropriate.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

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