Small Hive Beetles Ravaging New Colony
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  1. #1
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    Mar 2020
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    West Palm Beach, FL, USA
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    Default Small Hive Beetles Ravaging New Colony

    Okay so my hive has been set up only for a very short period of about a month, I have a Warre hive with a window and I thought everything was finally going great and they were building up comb but Iíve discovered hive beetles, Iíve laid several different traps but there are so many of them. Iíve read about removing the queen and the bees and relocating them and freezing the comb and I think Iím going to do that but where and how should I be relocating my bees? Iím getting desperate here and I have several modes of killing them but they seem to be everywhere.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
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    Columbia, Maryland, USA
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    Default Re: Small Hive Beetles Ravaging New Colony

    The best thing for SHB is a strong, dense colony. The best thing to do would be to concentrate the bees down if you can do that by reducing the space inside so that the bees can patrol and defend the space better. You said you were using a lot of traps, have you tried using Swiffer sheets? Those work great for SHB infestations.
    USDA Hardiness Zone 7A, Hobbyist, First Hives in 2017

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
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    SE Michigan USDA 6a (Macomb Co.)
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    104

    Default Re: Small Hive Beetles Ravaging New Colony

    Quote Originally Posted by Ishtar View Post
    Okay so my hive has been set up only for a very short period of about a month, I have a Warre hive with a window and I thought everything was finally going great and they were building up comb but Iíve discovered hive beetles, Iíve laid several different traps but there are so many of them. Iíve read about removing the queen and the bees and relocating them and freezing the comb and I think Iím going to do that but where and how should I be relocating my bees? Iím getting desperate here and I have several modes of killing them but they seem to be everywhere.
    Hello, welcome to the forum! I think the first thing though will be some background info on where you are located, if you have any other hives, how they are placed, etc? In general, I have noted many folks are big advocates of keeping hives in full-sun to help minimize the incidence of hive beetles, be sure to put an impenetrable barrier of some sort over the ground under your hives to prevent SHB larvae from being able to drop out of the hive and pupate underground, and use various traps in your hive to help the situation. But, a strong hive is the best defense, so do your best to help the bees be strong, and they can work wonders to minimize the pests, so the traps can mop up any stragglers.
    USDA 6a, 8 frame equipment

  5. #4
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    Mar 2020
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    West Palm Beach, FL, USA
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    Default Re: Small Hive Beetles Ravaging New Colony

    Akademee, I can do that, the beetles seem to be in and out of the comb, and their numbers seem to have dwindled. They were doing so well for a while. I haven’t tried the swiffer sheets but I will do that now, I bought some cloth from a bee supply company that I’m waiting on which I assume is the same. Do I have to add vinegar or anything to entice them?

  6. #5
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    Mar 2020
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    West Palm Beach, FL, USA
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    Default Re: Small Hive Beetles Ravaging New Colony

    Hi Hockeyfan,

    Thank you! I live in South Florida, and itís my first hive and colony. I made the mistake of putting them in shade because I assumed that since Florida is hot, shade would be preferable. I had it raised up on cinder blocks on the grass but I relocated them late last night where they get full sun on cinder blocks which are resting on gravel, which Iím hoping might slow their growth as I know the larvae like soil. I laid the little black traps that look like CD cases, and put vinegar soaked banana peel, which they seem to like but itís only caught a couple of them. The oil traps that are placed between slats I bought have been unsuccessful at catching any at all though.

  7. #6
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    Dec 2019
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    SE Michigan USDA 6a (Macomb Co.)
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    104

    Default Re: Small Hive Beetles Ravaging New Colony

    No problem, glad I can help. Here are a few more detailed ideas:

    - Full sun yes, but not necessarily on top of a gravel-area that will get scorching hot like a stove top. If you have the stands in a grassy area, cover the soil under the hives and out a foot or so all around with 30# felt paper weighted down with rocks or such until it stays the way you want it. Cheap, easy, and effective. Plus, it eliminates the need to weed whip or mow right up against the hives, which can provoke some colonies, especially if your very-south warm location may be more likely to develop africanized behaviors than us northerners

    - As many will tell you, it is difficult to maintain your bees with a 1-hive-only approach. Better would be to eventually split into 2 or 3, so you can work with them all and be able to mix-n-match whenever the situation is beneficial. Downside = need more space of wooden-ware and such, upside = more bees to pollinate and more honey to eat and sell

    - Put your between frames oil traps near the top of the hive, just under the inner cover. The bees chase the beetles upward near the corners where it is warmest, and they try to hide in any cracks. Your traps seems like good hiding places at first, and hopefully they never leave...

    - Finally you mentioned your hives are up on blocks. In your location it may be beneficial to also create some sort of ground-anchoring of your stands, and anchoring strategy for your hives to the stands. High winds can tip over beautiful successful colonies, and trying to manage an emergency fix in the middle of the next hurricane Andrew may be challenging. Even here I drove rods into the ground to secure my concrete blocks better, strap the wood pieces to the blocks, and ratchet strap my entire box stacks down to the wooden cross-pieces every time

    Good luck!
    USDA 6a, 8 frame equipment

  8. #7

    Default Re: Small Hive Beetles Ravaging New Colony

    One thing you may want to do is go to your profile and add a location.
    In the case of shb in south Florida, the problem is MUCH bigger than if you were further north. There is no way anyone can advise you on this subject better than another local, successful beekeeper. Find a bee club and pick the brains of the locals.
    Good luck.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
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    West Palm Beach, FL, USA
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    17

    Default Re: Small Hive Beetles Ravaging New Colony

    Quote Originally Posted by hockeyfan_019 View Post
    No problem, glad I can help. Here are a few more detailed ideas:

    - Full sun yes, but not necessarily on top of a gravel-area that will get scorching hot like a stove top. If you have the stands in a grassy area, cover the soil under the hives and out a foot or so all around with 30# felt paper weighted down with rocks or such until it stays the way you want it. Cheap, easy, and effective. Plus, it eliminates the need to weed whip or mow right up against the hives, which can provoke some colonies, especially if your very-south warm location may be more likely to develop africanized behaviors than us northerners

    - As many will tell you, it is difficult to maintain your bees with a 1-hive-only approach. Better would be to eventually split into 2 or 3, so you can work with them all and be able to mix-n-match whenever the situation is beneficial. Downside = need more space of wooden-ware and such, upside = more bees to pollinate and more honey to eat and sell

    - Put your between frames oil traps near the top of the hive, just under the inner cover. The bees chase the beetles upward near the corners where it is warmest, and they try to hide in any cracks. Your traps seems like good hiding places at first, and hopefully they never leave...

    - Finally you mentioned your hives are up on blocks. In your location it may be beneficial to also create some sort of ground-anchoring of your stands, and anchoring strategy for your hives to the stands. High winds can tip over beautiful successful colonies, and trying to manage an emergency fix in the middle of the next hurricane Andrew may be challenging. Even here I drove rods into the ground to secure my concrete blocks better, strap the wood pieces to the blocks, and ratchet strap my entire box stacks down to the wooden cross-pieces every time

    Good luck!
    Okay, that sounds like a good idea. I thought about getting another colony and hive while I still can but I’m nervous about the beetles getting them too. Space isn’t an issue, I’m blessed with a decent sized yard. I have my traps filled with oil about halfway and placed between the frames, but it hasn’t caught a single beetle! Even put a vinegar soaked banana peel to attract them but alas, they don’t seem to care. The black traps at the bottom seem to catch more, although I still see more roaming about the hive.

    I have been thinking about hurricane prep! I elevated them on blocks because we do have wildlife down here (nothing too crazy, raccoons, opossums, coyotes). As they are now, I have them close to a barn and am thinking of putting two permanent fence posts that can attach a three boards to when necessary. There are just too many variables for me to leave it open, even ratcheted down.

  10. #9
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    Mar 2020
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    West Palm Beach, FL, USA
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    Default Re: Small Hive Beetles Ravaging New Colony

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    One thing you may want to do is go to your profile and add a location.
    In the case of shb in south Florida, the problem is MUCH bigger than if you were further north. There is no way anyone can advise you on this subject better than another local, successful beekeeper. Find a bee club and pick the brains of the locals.
    Good luck.
    Just updated it, thank you beemandan =)

  11. #10
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    Oct 2015
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    Butler Co, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: Small Hive Beetles Ravaging New Colony

    There was a study floating around Facebook a few months back that aligned bad infestations of hive beetles with high varroa mite levels. Might be worth an alcohol wash.
    Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20...
    After the fact, I always know what didn't work.

  12. #11
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    Default

    Bdfarmer, I’ll have to look into that before it’s yet another issue I have to contend with, didn’t think there was anything I could do about it until winter because of brooding

  13. #12
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    Oct 2015
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    Butler Co, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: Small Hive Beetles Ravaging New Colony

    There are many might treatments available, if that is indeed an issue. I don't know, I just recalled reading the study on a Facebook link and thought it could be relevant.

    Keep in mind, since I saw it on Facebook, it has to be true. Lol
    Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20...
    After the fact, I always know what didn't work.

  14. #13
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    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    5,225

    Default Re: Small Hive Beetles Ravaging New Colony

    A thermal mite treatment device, such as the Mighty Mite Killer, is reported to kill small hive beetles as well as mites. They can be used at any time, even with brood and honey supers present.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  15. #14
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    Oct 2008
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    Turnbow Hollow, Tennessee
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    471

    Default Re: Small Hive Beetles Ravaging New Colony

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    A thermal mite treatment device, such as the Mighty Mite Killer, is reported to kill small hive beetles as well as mites. They can be used at any time, even with brood and honey supers present.
    Beat me to it. Great minds think alike.

    Treating with the Mighty Mite Killer is especially effective with respect to killing SHB's if you place a plastic queen excluder under the insualtion board that is placed on top of the brood chamber. The thermal treatment will over a period of several minutes to hours drive out a significant percentage of the bees but will kill any SHB's that try to remain in the brood chamber being treated as well as drive out any other SHB's. Once the thermal treatment cycle is completed. Leave the hive alone and do not remove any of the equipment for several hours until the bees all go back inside or just come back the next day.

    When disassembling the hive to remove the MMK equipment the first thing that gets removed is the thermal insulation board. Remove it VERY carefully and have your hive tool, wide putty knife, or a bucket of water ready. Turn the insulation board over so the plastic queen excluder is on top and remove it. You will see dozens of SHB's that the hive guard bees have either trapped or propolized in the little slots in the where the queen excluder was. BE QUICK and squash them with your hive or other tool or dump them into the bucket of water and drown them. If you are too slow, some will get away.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Small Hive Beetles Ravaging New Colony

    The Mighty Mite Killer looks amazing... seems almost too good to be true! Looking into getting one now. One thing I can’t seem to figure out is do the bees leave while it’s heating up inside or are they okay with the 106 degree temperature?

  17. #16
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    Apr 2017
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    Default Re: Small Hive Beetles Ravaging New Colony

    They are not "OK" with 106įF, but they do survive it. Many will be doing their darndest to cool the hive back down to 93į. If you have never seen how bees kill the giant hornets, you should. They ball the hornet and cook it by heating themselves up to just below their own Tne.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Small Hive Beetles Ravaging New Colony

    Quote Originally Posted by Live Oak View Post
    Beat me to it. Great minds think alike.

    Treating with the Mighty Mite Killer is especially effective with respect to killing SHB's if you place a plastic queen excluder under the insualtion board that is placed on top of the brood chamber. .
    So you, and others are suggesting that this new beekeeper blow $350 on a tool to kill the shb thermally? I've got to roll my eyes at that solution.

    Surely, there must be a better way. When the bees are being attacked by SHB, the beekeeper needs to reduce the colony to a bare minimum of combs and boxes. I'm not sure how Warre works, but I always thought that Langstroth is a great design. Even in Langstroth hives, unless the hive is crowded with bees the SHB will be roaming around the edges of the combs waiting for an opportunity.

    Most traps work because the SHB are looking to escape from the bees that are in pursuit of them. IOW, they are looking for a hiding place.

    Not knowing more, I think this newby should treat for mites. Maybe a single formic pad MAQS and repeat in a week. FYI, formic will clear the SHB out of the hive at least temporarily. And if it's warm, maybe the hive would be better off shaded for this treatment, IMO.

    I don't know swarming season in Florida, but the beekeeper maybe should be pursuing the option of a second hive obtained one way or the other. That should be less expensive the the Mighty Mite killer.

    A sad way to begin. I wish the beekeeper luck. And I do go by the philosophy that 'perserverance furthers'.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Small Hive Beetles Ravaging New Colony

    Quote Originally Posted by Gino45 View Post
    So you, and others are suggesting that this new beekeeper blow $350 on a tool to kill the shb thermally? I've got to roll my eyes at that solution.
    Gino, I.fail to see where it was suggested that the OP purchase this device. We are simply discussing options. It is up to each individual to decide for themselves how much they are willing to spend and for what purpose. Free will is a great concept, although Lucas Buck with a B might say it is an illusion . If the OP had asked whether spending $350 on this device was a good idea for one hive, my opinion would be not really, unless there were more hives planned for the future. One of my nuc customers, an RN, was chomping at the bit to buy a ProVap with only three hives. I discouraged her from that, for the time being.

    American Gothic was a great show.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  20. #19
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    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
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    Default Re: Small Hive Beetles Ravaging New Colony

    I am basing my comment on my belief that Warre hives are foundationless.
    In a one month old hive there is probably not an excess of comb for the bees to guard, unless it was a used hive with comb in it. Bees will only draw what they need. If this was a package installed on comb the problem could be dwindling numbers of bees due to an aging population. This could make it difficult for the bees to patrol. Is there capped or open brood? Have you seen eggs?
    In most cases of hives being overrun by beetles or moths there is an underlying issue. I would figure out what went wrong before throwing large sums of money at the problem.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Small Hive Beetles Ravaging New Colony

    Ishtar, this is just my 2 cents, so take it or leave it. But this is what I recently told someone else who asked about small hive beetles...

    My experience in multiple bee yards--some with full sun and some in full shade--has taught me that the amount of sun has little to do with the number of SHB. The more important factor, I've found, is the effort you spend sealing up all the nooks and crannies in your woodenware before you put bees into it. Hives will pretty much always have imperfect seams between boards, and making sure those are all filled (I use wood glue) makes a huge difference in how many hive beetles you'll have. Those cracks are perfect spots for beetles to hide and lay eggs, and the bees are too big to get in and clean them out. So that's my opinion about SHB control--people put way too much focus on sunlight and way too little focus on tightening up their woodenware.
    So my first questions to you, Ishtar, would be...did you build your own hive? For people who aren't professional woodworkers (me included), this often means the tolerances are "forgiving." Whether or not you built your own hive, did you ensure all the gaps were well-sealed before installing bees? If not, I'd get the bees moved into a temporary nuc so you can get in and really seal up your hive joints to eliminate all those SHB hiding spots and egg factories. I'd bet that solves a lot of your problem.

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