I am concerned as to whether or not SHB can make it through the winter here. As some of you might remember, one of my hives was devistated by SHB. I expressed my concern to the commercial keeper that I work for that this hive might have the beetles, but he denied the fact that SHB had even made it up this far yet. He had never even seen a SHB before, so I called Dadant and they confirmed that some beetles have been spotted in our area. Shortly thereafter while working the apiaries of this keeper we discovered about a dozen of his hives in at least three different yards were infested. Since I got my packages from him, I can only suspect that we both got the SHB from the same shipment of packages that we received from GA.
Now my question is this... What are the chances of these beetles making it through the winter here. The particular hive of mine was tore down completely and the frames have not been used again yet, nor have I noticed the beetles in the only remaining hive in that particular yard. I do have a SHB trap on that hive just in case as well. Can the beetles survive the freeze here if they are in the ground? Do we have to worry about the beetles surviving the winter here, or just concern ourselves with the packages we purchase in the spring?
I'm not sure what you mean by infested. SHB larva destroying combs is one thing. Having a handful of adult SHB in the hive is another. I have had a handful of adult SHB in my hives all summer with no apparent ill effects -- at least not yet.
I too have had SHB delivered with packages. While the adults may (or may not) be able to survive a Michigan winter inside the hive, the larva must pupate underground. As long and as deep as the ground freezes in MI, I would think that would break the life cycle. As long as your hives stay strong, they should be able to throw out any larva that hatch in the hive. If the adults in the hive can't raise young to adulthood, I would think your problem should be temporary. It was reported that SHB had been spotted in your area. That doesn't mean they can survive the winter there.
As a disclaimer, I'm not an expert -- just making educated guesses based on what I've read and experienced.
[This message has been edited by GaSteve (edited November 19, 2004).]
Yes they can survive the winter, but it seems to take some toll on them as they do better further South where it doesn't freeze so hard. Hard clay soil seems to be a deterent to them flourishing. Sandy soil seems to be a bonus for the SHB and they really flourish.
Initially the hive was fighting off the SHB, but they swarmed. That is when the SHB took over, many adults and thousands of larvae not only in the cells but all over the bottom board, fermenting honey, the whole works. Would that be considered infestation?
unfortunately ive got too much experience on this topic but it could be worse. yes the beetles have been here a long time now, something like spring of '98 or '99. you may have just picked them up this year with spring packages or maybe this just happened to be the year that you noticed them or that they moved in from a surrounding area.
they will survive with no trouble at all. the adults survive inside the nice warm cozy hive all winter long. if there is any positive in the situation it is that the life cycle of larvae is broken due to the lovely michigan winters. so you can plan on seeing them come spring but it wont be the end of the world.