Trying a new beetle trap
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    Byron, Il, USA
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    354

    Default Trying a new beetle trap

    I have been watching the SHBs in my hives. My bees are very aggressive against them, chasing, biting, and sometimes even flying away with them. The beetles are usually corralled into a corner or hiding between frames. Thinking about their behavior, I figured they will crawl into any small, protected space to escape the bees, and I thought about how to trap them. I decided to try plastic drinking straws. I cut each straw into two lengths, then plugged one end of each. Then I just dropped them onto the bottom board.

    My hope is that beetles will hide in them and the bees will either guard them there, or even propolize the open end. I'll let you know how it goes. I hate them buggers and really want to find an easy, cheap way to control them.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    Byron, Il, USA
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    Default Re: Trying a new beetle trap

    Some small success. I used two sizes of straw. The larger diameter are just small enough a bee can't crawl inside. No SHBs in any of those so far that I have seen. The smaller straws however I have found a few beetles inside. A bee was standing at the entrance guarding it.
    Next step is to see if I have any more of the small straws and put a bunch in.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    Byron, Il, USA
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    Default Re: Trying a new beetle trap

    Gonna call this basically a bust. I dug deep into 4 hives today and squashed dozens of beetles. There were maybe three in the straws. I pulled every frame and checked it then put into new boxes. The beetles retreated into the box corners and the bees went wild on them. It was hard to get a finger in to squash them without killing bees.

    I did find that my few plastic frames are beetle heaven. I inherited a half dozen plastic frames when I got my first bees. They are solid plastic except that they have some narrow slots across the top and sides and bottom. Perfect for SHBs to hide in and using my knife I squashed a lot in those cracks. I'll eventually switch those out and plug the gaps with something.

    Time to try something else. Maybe strips cut from a real estate sign.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Rock Hill, SC
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    70

    Default Re: Trying a new beetle trap

    As far as pests go the small hive beetle is my worst nightmare. As I've mentioned before I have Minnesota Hybrids and haven't treated for mites in years. However the SHB can take out a hive in a week if allowed to get a foothold. Over the last several years I have lost many hives to them. So, I tried almost everything and have finally learned enough to control them. I will share here what I have learned.

    I have used different types of traps with good results. Beetle Blaster Traps are easy to use and disposable. Some years I have good luck with them – sometimes not so much.

    I have had the best results with reusable Beetle Jails. It is a sturdy made reusable trap and sits recessed between the top bars. The beetle jails have a small bait section between the 2 oil sections. I put apple cidar vinegar in the bait section. They are attracted to it. If there are lots of beetles I have actually used up to 3 Beetle Jails on top of each box (between the frames), 2 just inside the outer frames and one between the center frames. You need to check them every week or 2, empty, clean and refill them. They work great and the bait attracts the beetles even when the bees don't chase them into the traps.

    Beetle barns can be placed on the bottom board. In he center compartment you can place a small amount of a crisco and boric acid mixture. They eat it and die. There is no danger to the bees. Some also cut small strips of Checkmite+ (coumaphos) which is an approved treatment for Small Hive Beetles. Being a chemical, I don't use this during the honey flow.

    The SHBs larvae make their way to the ground under your hive where they mature and become beetles. Treating the ground with a salt and vinegar solution will gradually remove the grass and also kill the SHB larvae before they can mature.

    DE – Diatomaceous Earth can be used for many things about the homestead.
    Beekeepers use it inside hive beetle traps or applied to the soil around the hive.
    But, don’t forget that bees are insects too! DE will kill your bees if they get it on them or inside the hive. Use it if you want – but use it with care.

    Don’t keep weak hives. While strong hives can mount a good attack on beetles, weak hives are quickly overrun.
    Keep populations large enough to patrol the complete area inside the hive.

    Good Hive Placement Plays A Role in Hive Beetle Problems
    Adult Small Hive Beetles prefer hives in shady locations. Therefore, placing hives in the sun may be of some benefit.
    Here in South Carolina, I place my hives in full sun. It gets hot! But the hot, red, clay soil discourages larva development. Fewer larva survive to pupate in the hard dry soil.

    Some things you can do to help your honey bee colonies in the Small Hive Beetle Battle are:
    • keep strong colonies
    • don’t give small colonies too many boxes
    • be proactive – kill any beetles you see with your hive tool
    • keep the ground around your hives dry to inhibit beetle pupation
    • put in hive beetle traps before the infestation gets out of control


    I may post this in a thread of its own. We really need info for the SHB battle.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    Byron, Il, USA
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    Default Re: Trying a new beetle trap

    Hi Cyberman, thanks for the useful reply. I am doing many of these things and plan to do more. I don't spend much money, particularly on disposable things like most traps.
    I went on a short trip the last few days. Before leaving I took off unused supers and in a few cases even pulled unused frames from partially occupied boxes. I see the beetles hiding in on and around empty frames all the time. Bare walls are better if the bees are not building comb.
    I need to treat the dirt, that's for sure.

  7. #6
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    Feb 2017
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    Byron, Il, USA
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    Default Re: Trying a new beetle trap

    Beefed up my weakest hive today, added a honey frame covered with bees from my strongest hive.

    I added some squares of cardboard. The waffle holes are about the size of larger beetles. I am trying two versions. One had the end dipped in vinegar and the other was just plain cardboard. Vinegar is supposed to be attractive to SHBs.

    In fact though, I saw far fewer beetles today than previous checks. Maybe I squashed enough for the bees to get ahead of them.

  8. #7
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    Feb 2017
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    Byron, Il, USA
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    Default Re: Trying a new beetle trap

    Cardboard is worse than useless. No beetles went in. Instead they go under the cardboard to hide from the bees.

    What has appeared to help is removing most unused frames. The beetles wander freely if there is unguarded space. So I took out all the frames the bees were not currently working on, leaving gaps at the outside edges of the boxes. This seems to work pretty well. Today when I checked I saw no beetles in 3 hives and 2 beetles in one hive. Far fewer than a few weeks ago.
    So far no sign that the bees want to build comb on the roof over the empty spaces. Have to keep an eye on that and add frames as they fill up.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Rock Hill, SC
    Posts
    70

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AR1 View Post
    Beefed up my weakest hive today, added a honey frame covered with bees from my strongest hive.
    I would recommend against adding frames full of bees from another hive. Those bees are probably all dead. Bees from another hive are considered enemies.
    I usually take a super with frames full of bees from a strong hive, put a newspaper between it and the other hive. By the time they chew through the newspaper (2 to 3 days) they are used to each other.
    Then I take the box back off, leaving the extra bees in the hive.

  10. #9
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    Feb 2017
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    Default Re: Trying a new beetle trap

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyberman View Post
    I would recommend against adding frames full of bees from another hive. Those bees are probably all dead. Bees from another hive are considered enemies.
    I usually take a super with frames full of bees from a strong hive, put a newspaper between it and the other hive. By the time they chew through the newspaper (2 to 3 days) they are used to each other.
    Then I take the box back off, leaving the extra bees in the hive.
    Didn't seem to be any problem, but point taken!
    At any rate there were no piles of dead bees in front of the hive and no more than the usual few on the floor. These bees are all half-sisters, maybe that helped.

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