When I lived in the north I didn't even know what SHBs were. After moving to South Carolina I became acquainted with these evil, hive destroying creatures.
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 Ė 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 Ė 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, donít 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 Ė but use it with care.
Donít 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
donít give small colonies too many boxes
be proactive Ė 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 am now winning the battle against SHBs. I hope these tactics work for many of you. I wish everyone luck in this battle.
Please share any of your battle tactics that have worked well.