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Dear Forum,
We were getting ready to inspect our month old nuc and saw that the bees were super busy keeping small hive beetles captured at the ends of some of the frames. Should we go ahead and lift the frames to check them even though that will likely free the SHBs? We have a screened bottom board with diatomaceous earth under them that has been very helpful but we are not sure what to do with these beetles up in the frames.
Thank you very much!
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Try using Swiffer sheets to trap the SHB or a Beetle Blaster trap filled with DE. Also try to smash as many as you can when you first open the inner cover. Depending on the strength of the hive, the bees do a pretty good job of keeping the SHB corralled. A weak hive lacks the patrolling force necessary to keep the SHB under control and will often succumb to being slimed. Make sure you do not have more frames of drawn comb with stores than the bees can cover.
 

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Thank you so much, JW. We will be installing Beetle Jails tomorrow and will find some Swiffer sheets. We were thinking we could transfer them to a new box and as we lift the frames try to squash as many beetles as we can, although I opened them up yesterday but didn't pull any frames out to inspect. I hope that we won't distress them too much our really inspecting them just two days after. We have a Beetle Shim in place that we need to check to be sure it is working.

I really appreciate your reply!
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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You will not overly stress the bees, if at all. Changing boxes won't help as the beetles duck into the nearest open cell on the frame. Making sure your hives are in full sun is another way to control the beetles. They seem drawn to hives that are shaded. If you get SHB maggots, remove the affected frames and set them outside in an empty box in full sun. The bees will rob out any remaining stores and the robbers will kill the maggots. At least it saves the comb.
 

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I really appreciate that information!!! We have them in full sun most of the day because they are on an old concrete slab that used to be the base of our chicken house. That is such helpful information about how to deal with affected frames, too!

Thank you so much, JW, for your replies.
 

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When I’m doing inspections I rarely remove the number 1 and 10 frames (in a 10 frame hive). The bees will have driven shb as far as possible from the brood and on frames, the outer surfaces of 1 and 10 will be where you find the greatest number of them. This time of year, here in GA, I will usually find dozens, even in the most robust colonies. Removing those frames, in an area where shb are a serious issue, disrupts the equilibrium created by the bees sequestering the beetles.
 

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We noticed that the bees had the SHB at the ends of those frames, too, but didn't realize it would be a good idea not to disturb them! That is good to know! Thank you very much, beemandan!
 

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Last year when the beetles were getting bad I tried removing the frames and placing them in a new, clean box. Pull a frame, inspect it and squash all beetles, them place it in a new box. One by one. The beetles ended up on the floor of the hive and after all the frames were out I could squash large numbers. It didn't seem to harm the bees, and I put the new box where the old box had been.
 

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EmilyJane, you may also want to explore the cause for your small hive beetle issues so your bees aren't constantly having to fend them off in hoards. This is something I've said to others on this topic, and I'm too lazy to type it again so I'll just copy-paste:

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, DE, and traps, and way too little focus on tightening up their woodenware.
 

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EmilyJane, you may also want to explore the cause for your small hive beetle issues so your bees aren't constantly having to fend them off in hoards.
Small hive beetles are a tropical pest. The further north you go....the less of a problem. The difference in Pascagoula, MS and St Louis, MO would be huge.
What may work for your climate and environment will likely not make a dent in a location near the gulf coast.
 

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Small hive beetles are a tropical pest. The further north you go....the less of a problem. The difference in Pascagoula, MS and St Louis, MO would be huge.
What may work for your climate and environment will likely not make a dent in a location near the gulf coast.
You might be right. But I can say unequivocally that I had massive SHB problems until I addressed the woodenware defects. I routinely had hundreds of beetles on my inner covers every time I cracked the lids on my hives. So it's not like we don't have them here in St Louis. We do, and I did, and they were bad. But thinking about it, I don't remember seeing any in my hives this year during inspections. I did see them hanging out at a pollen feeder early in the spring, so they haven't moved out of my area.
 

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They are a serious pest here in the GA Piedmont. I've worked bees about a hundred miles south near Unadilla, GA and they were AWFUL. I keep a beeyard about a hundred miles north...in a shady spot...west of Franklin, NC and I rarely see any.
I might add that advising people that full sun vs shade doesn't matter is bad advice for folks in this part of the country. Night and day difference. A serious nuisance in the sun and an uncontrollable pest in the shade.
If you ask any observant beekeeper around here, they would tell you that it is common to see small hive beetles walk in the entrance of hives. You can seal those cracks to your heart's content but it wont even slow the monsters down.
 

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I sealed all internal cracks and holes last year, all seams. Sealed the slots in the few plastic frames I have. I 'think' it helps the bees control them.

It was fun watching the bees chasing, biting and occasionally catching and flying off with the SHBs.
 
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