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  1. #1

    Default SHB Boom at Summer's End

    I heard the fat bee man say recently to really watch the beetles in September. Is that simply because they've had all summer to populate and are at their peak? Or is there something about the end of summer that they get a boost by a honey flow or something.

    I had the very unfortunate event of going to help a friend with his hive this evening only to find them slimed out. I have also lost two seemingly strong colonies in the last two weeks to the beetles.

    I refuse to use chemicals as I'm just one of those hard headed types. I can try crowding the bees, which I've been doing a little in preparation for winter, but don't want to overcrowd as we still have a fall flow coming. I have some hives that appear loaded with beetles, but others that don't have hardly any. I know that could be hygenic behavior and am taking note of it. Or it could be placement in the bee yard ( more shading compared to others?). I've heard old timers recommend placing hives in full sun, but it gets so blasted hot down here in the summer I fear that could actually be more stressful!

    I'd like to start some good discussion on this so others don't have to take the losses I have!
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    1,262

    Default Re: SHB Boom at Summer's End

    Refusing to treat when it becomes the only prudent option is the same as refusing to feed a fine stallion because he should be able to survive on graze. There are other factors that need to be taken into account in both cases.
    The way I see it you have three options treat the hives and area and be done with it.
    Don't treat and suffer the loses.
    Get rid of the bees.

  3. #3

    Default Re: SHB Boom at Summer's End

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    Refusing to treat when it becomes the only prudent option is the same as refusing to feed a fine stallion because he should be able to survive on graze. There are other factors that need to be taken into account in both cases.
    The way I see it you have three options treat the hives and area and be done with it.
    Don't treat and suffer the loses.
    Get rid of the bees.
    With all do respect, that's a quitters mindset, and it's NOT the only prudent option. There is clearly a learning point here. I have two separate areas in my back yard where I keep bees. On area is mostly shaded, the other mostly sun. The hives in the shady area also sit on the ground, vs the ones in the sun sit up on rails. The ones in the shade have more beetles. So right off there are two variables that could be the issue: on the ground and in the shade.

    So close to the ground, the beetles/larva can more simply walk in and out. Less sun means the soil doesn't get as hot and retains moisture longer, which I assume is a better pupating environment for the beetle larva.

    I post this because I wanted to know if others had made similar observations that could lead to a more constructive conversation.

    Here's another example: I made up 8 mating nucs. 4 of them absconded/got slimed within mere days of placement. The four that survived faced due north and due south. The four that failed (two of each) faced east and west. Now this is probably a complete fluke, but I've heard plenty of people make arguments about bee activity with respect to the azimuth which the hive faces. Come to think of it, all of may other colonies face east and west. Only the nucs that survived are the ones that I faced north and south.

    Again, to Tenbears, I appreciate any and all input, and I'm not trying to sound aggressive towards your post, but the fact is, there are plenty of ways to successfully keep treatment free bees. I have over 20 colonies right now that I've acquired in just over a year of splits and cutouts (I'm rather proud to say I only ever purchased my first package of bees). I'm not so arrogant to say I know it all, as the bees/beetles teach me every day that I DON'T know it all. But I do know that you can keep bees treatment free. I've never put a drop of pesticide or medicine in my hive (not intentionally) and my bees are doing great. It's just that I've observed some have a much higher beetle population than others.

    In the interest of hygienics, I have seen some hives chasing and biting at the beetles which is a good sign. But I've seen these hives also have just as many or more beetles than a hive that seems to ignore the beetles. The more I think about it, the more it looks like a hive placement issue.

    Now, back on topic, can anyone explain the "boom" in beetle populations at summers end?
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    900

    Default Re: SHB Boom at Summer's End

    Beetles can easily take down a hive in a week. The controls I use are IMP bottom boards with the oil tray underneath, the hanging traps on the frames, and the boric acid traps in spots that the bees cannot access. And I use my trusty hive tool to smush every one of those suckers I can find. Hives need to be in full sun. In Florida and again in Alabama I keep mine in full sun. We regularly get weeks of 100+ degrees and the hives manage fine. I know there are chemical treatments for beetles, tho I've never used them, and I'm sure you can find those too. The only thing you cannot do is do nothing or the beetles will get your hives. Once they have slimed frames, I have never had success salvaging those frames--the bees avoid them like the plague even once they've been cleaned. Oh, and all my hives face due East and are spaced about 2 feet apart on their stands. Beetles fly, so they fly right in even as my setup kills them, so it's always an ongoing battle from last frost to first. I keep hygienic bees, and I think that helps, too.

    HTH

    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Bertie County,NC
    Posts
    870

    Default Re: SHB Boom at Summer's End

    everyone in my area says more hive beetles this year than they ever seen before! I have seen at least two or three in every one of my hives...every time I have inspected since mid-summer.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Laurel Hill, Fl
    Posts
    449

    Default Re: SHB Boom at Summer's End

    Your hive is probably drawing down it's numbers preparing for winter, the SHB don't, so you end up with a smaller number of bees trying to control a growing number of beetles.
    Unlike mites, you don't have to use chemicals on beetles. Traps, SBB with oil trays below, etc. Hives in full sun, I'm in florida and I keep mine in full sun. It's pretty darn hot.
    I also use SBB and trays. Often remove the trays in the worst heat of the year. I rarely see a SHB anymore. I lost a hive early this year that did not have a SBB and tray.

  7. #7

    Default Re: SHB Boom at Summer's End

    If you lose a hive to SHB, you'll never forget it and you'll never want to go through that again. It's downright nasty.

    Strong hive, sunlight, and trays and traps are what I'm using now.

    Everyone at our beekeeper's association is having lots of SHB this year. I think it's because it was damper and cooler than normal.

    Good luck with your hives.
    Greg Whitehead, Ten Mile, TN
    Blog - http://gregsbees.blogspot.com/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,058

    Thumbs Up Just my way of handling shb.......

    I got a big dose of hive beetles in two NUCs I bought last Spring. The biggest boon to small hive beetles in my twelve hives is to add too much pollen patty at one time, if you do, you will find it full of shb larva. Too much space for the number of bees also makes it hard for the bees to corral the beetles and control their breeding.

    ANY crevice in the hive can become shb accommodation, so I fill every gap I can, usually with elmer's glue. Ribs of all plastic frames make nice shelter for them too. The groves in wooden frames make good places for them to hide. It helps to know where to look if you are going to carry out a death sentence.

    Half my hives are in the sun and half in the shade 100 feet away -all are off the ground. I found a NUC the other day with a three inch circle full of slime and shb larva. Caught it early enough to take every frame out and manually kill the larva and beetles then cut the affected part of the comb and froze the frame. This NUC was in the sun, so its not as simple as keeping hives in the sun. I found shb larva in a NUC in the shade and killed them manually -wear your glasses, the larva start out very small, look for their movement.

    I treat the ground under my hives to reduce shb success, but remember, the larva can crawl hundreds of feet and the adults are strong flyers. They can also reproduce on decaying vegetable matter (melons). I found THIS link very informative, I hope you do too.

    landscaping and misc 2013 037.jpg

    Tom, this magnet from my garage toolbox makes an excellent shb killer. You can reach down to the bottom board with just one frame out of the way. Be patient, the bees will herd the beetles round and round. If you wait, you are likely to see the same beetle again and again as the bees harass them. I also think the meaner the bees, the fewer shb you will have. Cut the end off a small screw driver and you can reach to the bottom of a cell containing a shb to kill it.

    Commercial guys can't take the time to manually intervene, but I can.
    HTH
    Last edited by Lburou; 10-01-2013 at 10:19 PM.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,064

    Default Re: Just my way of handling shb.......

    I wonder if the beetles somehow detect stress or if they just take advantage of weak populations? Hives that are starving, being robbed, are queenless, or have a mite problem are also likely to fail with SHB. Once they have two of those issues they are often mobbed by beetles.

    BTW, it is easy to knock every Beetle off of a frame by rapping it on something. I have been using a bus box with an inch of soapy water and hardware cloth over it to catch them in if there are very many.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Clarendon County, SC, USA
    Posts
    158

    Default Re: Just my way of handling shb.......

    SHB are a pest of the melon industry in their native africa. They can reproduce in rotten cucumbers, watermelons, cantaloupes, etc. They will winter in the bee cluster, and even entice the bees to feed them by stimulating the bees mouth parts with their antennae. As the fall/winter approaches, their food/shelter sources are limited and they all move into hives. As your bees are preparing for winter, so are your bees pests. Everyone you kill now will be one less in the spring.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Palm beach Florida USA
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: Just my way of handling shb.......

    I'm lucky to have nasty bees because I surely would of lost my hives to the shb's. I installed an oil pan in the bottom and it gives them somewhere to fall when the bees roust them. Last inspection I had 0 in the hive that I saw plus zero in my top trap. Before I had 30+ every week in my traps plus more in jails until I opened the top and freed them. One word of caution my original pan was not full size and the beetles were laying eggs under it. I guess they were feeding on the pollen.

    Gene

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    1,262

    Default Re: SHB Boom at Summer's End

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Brueggen View Post
    With all do respect, that's a quitters mindset, and it's NOT the only prudent option. There is clearly a learning point here. I have two separate areas in my back yard where I keep bees. On area is mostly shaded, the other mostly sun. The hives in the shady area also sit on the ground, vs the ones in the sun sit up on rails. The ones in the shade have more beetles. So right off there are two variables that could be the issue: on the ground and in the shade.

    So close to the ground, the beetles/larva can more simply walk in and out. Less sun means the soil doesn't get as hot and retains moisture longer, which I assume is a better pupating environment for the beetle larva.

    I post this because I wanted to know if others had made similar observations that could lead to a more constructive conversation.

    Here's another example: I made up 8 mating nucs. 4 of them absconded/got slimed within mere days of placement. The four that survived faced due north and due south. The four that failed (two of each) faced east and west. Now this is probably a complete fluke, but I've heard plenty of people make arguments about bee activity with respect to the azimuth which the hive faces. Come to think of it, all of may other colonies face east and west. Only the nucs that survived are the ones that I faced north and south.

    Again, to Tenbears, I appreciate any and all input, and I'm not trying to sound aggressive towards your post, but the fact is, there are plenty of ways to successfully keep treatment free bees. I have over 20 colonies right now that I've acquired in just over a year of splits and cutouts (I'm rather proud to say I only ever purchased my first package of bees). I'm not so arrogant to say I know it all, as the bees/beetles teach me every day that I DON'T know it all. But I do know that you can keep bees treatment free. I've never put a drop of pesticide or medicine in my hive (not intentionally) and my bees are doing great. It's just that I've observed some have a much higher beetle population than others.

    In the interest of hygienics, I have seen some hives chasing and biting at the beetles which is a good sign. But I've seen these hives also have just as many or more beetles than a hive that seems to ignore the beetles. The more I think about it, the more it looks like a hive placement issue.

    Now, back on topic, can anyone explain the "boom" in beetle populations at summers end?
    It is the life cycle of the insect they build numbers throughout the summer. reaching a panicle in autumn. This is done so that when harsh winter kills reduce overwintering survival there will be ample survivors to continues propagation of the species.

    I never said that bees cannot be kept treatment free using sound management practices. A great many do so. following these practices works well in most instances. Utilizing hive location and air flow helps, as does beetle traps, crowding, Heterorhabditis Indica. and a host of other non chemical methods.
    However, when Infestation has reach the point that hives are being slimed out in rapid fashion then more drastic measures need to be taken. I do realize bees are not like dogs and the companion factor is not there. But I feel I as the care giver of my bees owe it to them to provide every opportunity for them to survive in a manner that is as comfortable as possible. If my child had Cancer I would not think very long before allowing the doctors to administer the terrible chemicals Known as Chemo therapy required to save their lives. (And trust me I know the agony of chemo)! I also realize that they are not always workable. However, I would not put a mustard plaster on his forehead and chant herri crishna simply because it may work. We are talking about extraordinary circumstances that require extraordinary measures. To be so focused on the culmination of an ideal that one would allow the needles suffering and loss of life to fulfill ones own concept of the purity of that ideal borders on inhumane.
    At Least that is how I see It.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Spanish Fort, AL
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: SHB Boom at Summer's End

    Mine are currently in full sun but the prior owner had them under trees. I immediately noticed beetles in both hives, but one had substantially fewer with about even populations. Those particular bees are extremely active foragers which i think probably means extremely active beetle herders. They don't seem to need help at all, while my other hive has traps just to help reduce the numbers. I will be splitting the super active hive next spring to try to keep this trait alive in my little bee yard, assuming they can get themselves queenright

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Posts
    86

    Default Re: SHB Boom at Summer's End

    I have added Freeman bottom board traps and they have almost eliminated the beetle issue. I had two hives infested and slimed. I saved the frames by freezing them for a week each and putting them in healthy hives. Those bees cleaned em up and used em. Losing a hive to shb is disheartening and friggin gross.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    151

    Default Re: SHB Boom at Summer's End

    As soon as the weather turned chilly here the beetles just disappeared. I haven't seen one since mid-September. Good riddance.
    The road goes on forever and the party never ends ---- Robert Earl Keen

  16. #16

    Default Re: SHB Boom at Summer's End

    I have seen a decline in mine since it started to cool off here, even though we have yet to have a night below 50F or so. Still it makes a difference. The bees seem to be more concerned with dumping them now, just as they are with the drones. Then again, the hive(s) that I had that were heavy with beetles also got moved off the ground and up onto rails. It could be a false positive that keeping them higher off the ground helps with the beetle control, but I feel it has made a difference.
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Ft Myers, Fl 33967
    Posts
    165

    Default Re: SHB Boom at Summer's End

    I have lost around two dozen colonies this year to SHB. I get all my bees from cutouts or swarms and most of them had beetles show up within two days of moving.
    I have come to the conculision that the bees can keep the beetles under control during normal circumstances but when something happens to make them lose focus, then the beetles start lying eggs and in two days there are thousands of them.
    i have tried every trap and treatment and still lost them. What I have found that works it to take the bottom board and add a wooden stip across the entrance that is the same thickness as the other three edges, then paint it black all over. After the paint dries, coat the whole thing with sticky board glue. Second best is to coat it with mixture of 2/3 bees wax and 1/3 mineral oil. Then cover the entire thing with 1/8" hardware cloth (#8 wire mesh). Keep it 3/8" above the glue. Set the brood nest on top and cut a 1" hole in the top of the box for an entrance. Then take the inner cover and the top cover off and replace them with a 1/4" plexiglass cover. Set the hive in the full sun.
    The beetles cannot stand sunlight and will do anything to get away from any light. The plexiglass lets in light and that drives the beetles down into the darkness at the bottom. They crawl through the mesh and get stuck in the glue. The mesh keeps the bees out of the glue.
    I put the same arrangement on my vacuum as well as my catch frame box. That way I clean the beetles out while I am doing the extraction.
    The last 6 cutouts I did are all doing well and there are no beetles in the hives
    Hope this helps
    Regards
    Joe

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Posts
    86

    Default Re: SHB Boom at Summer's End

    jredburn, do you have a photo?

  19. #19

    Default Re: SHB Boom at Summer's End

    Thanks for sharing jredburn! I too do a lot of cutouts and get most of my bees that way. That's smart to "cleanse" the bees during the removal. I need to build a better vac box anyway so I may play on your idea.
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Ft Myers, Fl 33967
    Posts
    165

    Default Re: SHB Boom at Summer's End

    When I try to load a image the select file page does not work so you will have to click on the URL.

    This is how I make my anti robbing screens.
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxs...it?usp=sharing

    This is the bottom board on a nuc with the frame edge all the way around it and painted black.
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxs...it?usp=sharing

    This is the glue pot of stick board glue that has to be heated. I pour a glob onto the board and use a hot air gun to keep it liquid and spread it with a paint brush to put an even coat on it.
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxs...it?usp=sharing

    This is the board ready for the hardqare cloth
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxs...it?usp=sharing

    This is the hardqre cloth stretched across the top and nailed in place.
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxs...it?usp=sharing


    this is the top view with the plexglass cover and the top entrance.
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxs...it?usp=sharing

    These are the frames I use inside a hive. The top is a 1" wide by 3/8" deep strip of wood with two 1/4" holes drilled in it. The sides are 1/4" dia. dowels. The bottom piece is 3/4" x 3/8" with two holes drilled in it.
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxs...it?usp=sharing

    This is the way I do the one way valve inside the box on a trap out. It is a plastic funnel that is stapled to the inside of the box.
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxs...it?usp=sharing

    This is my trap out set up.
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxs...it?usp=sharing
    A little closer.
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxs...it?usp=sharing

    Real close
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxs...it?usp=sharing
    Last edited by jredburn; 10-31-2013 at 09:31 AM.

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