As I crunch through the frozen mulch and grass this morning, a smile comes across my face as I think of all those hive beetle larva freezing to death. Or so I hope. Virginia didn't really have a hive beetle problem until this last few years - and we've had very mild winters the last 2 years.
Last year, we had this terrible January where it would be a week of a lot of cold, then very warm, then very cold. The queens would start laying, then the bees would starve with honey on the next frame, because they wouldn't leave the larva. However, the ground never got cold enough to freeze. I barely even remember more than a frost.
So, miserable winter with high losses. Then, a super wet spring where our main nectar source, the Tupelo, kept having its flowers flooded, so we got no honey. Then, because of no hard freeze, plenty of beetles.
I remember hives that had tiny clusters surviving the winter. Had beetles right in the cluster. Frozen, starved out hives, when I dumped the bees out the frames, the little hard bodies of adult beetles fall out.
So, once they're here, they remain. They also can create a huge population in only a week or 2 of swarming larva. But I'm really hoping that the volumes of larva out in the wild will really be reduced this year.
In VA, they're just a nuisance. Rarely we get a slimed hive unless something dumb happens, like sliding a full honey frame too close to the inside of the hive body so the bees can't maintain them. But the reduction of any nuisance has to help.