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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Strafford County, NH
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    572

    Default I thought it was too cold for hive beetles here

    Recently did a full hive inspection, swapping frames between two hives and doing some condensing to get ready for winter.

    Today I noticed a lot of hovering bees and suspected robbing. In my doings, I popped the cover and pried up the pollen patties that have been sitting on the inner cover. And beetle larvae was crawling under the patties! I squished all the larvae, took out the old patties and threw those in the garbage, but now I'm thinking - where were the beetles? I didn't see any beetles.

    In my inspection a few days ago, nothing was amiss. The frames all looked good, honey capped and uncapped looked good. I've never had an infestation of anything before.

    Now what should I do? Monitor the inner cover every day? Open the hive back up and look for any beetles or any damage, frequently? It should get to freezing here soon, but I read the beetles just hide in the warmth of the cluster.

    So now what? Could it be the beetles/larvae were just happy to have pollen patties and that's as far as it will go?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
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    1,017

    Default Re: I thought it was too cold for hive beetles here

    This year, I noticed that pollen patties attract SHB and that they try to stay where the bees cannot touch them. This is why I recommend using a smaller patties, so that the bees eat it within a week. I place patties between 2 sheets of waxes paper, so only the edges are exposed. This way, the beetles don't have a free reign into a pattie hatchery.

    As soon as I stopped feeding, the SHB were gone.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Strafford County, NH
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    572

    Default Re: I thought it was too cold for hive beetles here

    Well, being the impatient type, I went back out to my hives and popped them open again. Sorry, guys. Didn't see any more larvae, took out all pollen patties, checked some frames directly underneath and didn't see any problems. Then I thought - hmm. Could they have been wax moth larvae? Do wax moth larvae crawl under pollen patties too? So I put a pollen patty back in each hive.

    And now I looked at photos online, and while wax moth and hive beetle larvae could be twins, I saw a photo of a pollen patty with larvae in it that was hive beetle, so now I'm thinking it's hive beetle again. So TOMORROW I'll head back out there, pop it open again, and pull the pollen patties back out.

    Grr.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,235

    Default Re: I thought it was too cold for hive beetles here

    I have never seen wax moth larvae eating protein patties, but I guess they could. Most likely what u saw was SHB larvae. I have seen more adults in my hives this year than ever before, even when they are down South.

    Seems like you did the right thing taking the patties off of the hives. What r your populations like? Maybe they are too weak to eat up the patties fast enuf.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Strafford County, NH
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    572

    Default Re: I thought it was too cold for hive beetles here

    I've had some of the patty in there since February, they just haven't been interested in eating it, and it didn't seem to cause a problem. But then I put a new patty in the other day when I did a full inspection, to kind of get ready for winter.

    Yeah, they were probably shb larvae. One hive has been booming all summer, the other hive has been weaker. Hopefully it was just a few larvae happy in the pollen and without the pollen it'll just die out altogether. crossing fingers.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Franklin, New Hampshire
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: I thought it was too cold for hive beetles here

    Thanks for posting this. I though SHB didn't happen in NH. Good to know.

    Have you seen SHB before in your hives?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,678

    Default Re: I thought it was too cold for hive beetles here

    We see the odd one here in Maine on occasion. Their population doesn't get big enough to cause serious problems. At some point in the future I imagine we'll have to deal with them regularly. But for now, they are an annoyance.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    618

    Default Re: I thought it was too cold for hive beetles here

    New Bee

    I'm sure your bees are wondering why the daily inspections and interruptions. I kept bees in N.H for 10 years before moving to Virginia and never found the need for any supplemental pollen feeding. Generally they gather more than enough goldenrod pollen to maintain stores.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Mirabel, Québec, Canada
    Posts
    417

    Default Re: I thought it was too cold for hive beetles here

    Quote Originally Posted by NewbeeInNH View Post
    Well, being the impatient type, I went back out to my hives and popped them open again. Sorry, guys. Didn't see any more larvae, took out all pollen patties, checked some frames directly underneath and didn't see any problems. Then I thought - hmm. Could they have been wax moth larvae? Do wax moth larvae crawl under pollen patties too? So I put a pollen patty back in each hive.

    And now I looked at photos online, and while wax moth and hive beetle larvae could be twins, I saw a photo of a pollen patty with larvae in it that was hive beetle, so now I'm thinking it's hive beetle again. So TOMORROW I'll head back out there, pop it open again, and pull the pollen patties back out.

    Grr.
    Or larvae from yet another species. I don't know about wax moths, but I had beer bugs (a beetle that looks somewhat like the SMH) feast on the patties. I didn't see any larvea, but I wouldn't be surprised if they would lay there. It's rather odd, however, that you didn't see any adults... Where do you keep the patties? Maybe you carried eggs into the hive yourself? Eggs don't spawn themselves, there should be adults somewhere.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Norfolk County, MA, USA
    Posts
    164

    Default Re: I thought it was too cold for hive beetles here

    Shb is common here in MA so not surprised they are in NH. They like pollen patties and it has been warm enough for the shb to still be around. I don't think feeding patties all year is a good idea because we seem to have plenty of pollen in New England for the bees. More of a end of winter feed other than that maybe for a late Nuc but not for an established hive. Not unless you want shb because they are the only ones eating it right now..
    Think about it....Buy American

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Strafford County, NH
    Posts
    572

    Default Re: I thought it was too cold for hive beetles here

    I put the patties in the inner cover. I don't think I carried eggs in on the patties because they came out of the freezer. I suspect because I had the hives open doing my last warm weather inspection, that they may have been attracted by the honey smell.

    This is my 2nd year at it, and no I've never seen shb before. I was under the impression they weren't really an issue this far north, but this has been a warm fall so far, outside of a couple early frosts, so who knows. Could it have been maggots? I don't think so, altho I did kill one fly at the hive today.

    About supplemental feeding, yeah, some do, some don't. But some of the old timers say: Feed your bees. So I don't know. But they sure haven't seemed interested in these pollen patties all summer. I recently bought some patties that are part pollen, part sugar patty, so I think they'll be a help in winter feeding.

    I think my new motto will be: no pollen patties except for winter feeding.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,044

    Default Re: I thought it was too cold for hive beetles here

    It is too cold for the beetles to survive outside the hive in the winter but not inside the cluster. That knocks down the population to the point they shouldn't be a problem up here but if you are going to feed them they might be more of a problem than they should.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Strafford County, NH
    Posts
    572

    Default Re: I thought it was too cold for hive beetles here

    Makes sense, Acebird.

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