Killing Small Hive Beetles

This is one of my quilt boxes spending its 48 hour cycle time in the freezer. Right next to the walnuts and shredded zucchini.

Recently there was a tense situation on our little homestead.  As mentioned previously I am coming to grips with the fact that I have Small Hive Beetle at one of my hive sites.  I know that eventually they will be at all my sties, but I would like to retard their progress for as long as possible.  When I removed my Quilt Boxes from that site I placed them in Contractor Grade trash bags.  I have been cycling them through the freezer, each getting a 48 hour freezer session.  It is the  same treatment I give all of my empty honey supers to prevent wax moths.

Sounds like a plan right?  I thought I would get away with it too since we have two deep freezers and the majority of the weekly food needs are in the OTHER freezer.  I was at the computer when I heard, “What is this in the freezer?!?”  I had a sinking feeling in my stomach.  This is not the first time that I have been in hot water over bee equipment in the freezers.  I explained what I was doing, you know, “killing beetles, in our freezer”.  After a full explanation and a little time I don’t think I am going to have to find a new place to live. Just goes to show that communication is the key..     🙂

So am I the only one dealing with a new pest this year?

Please leave comments on how you have been dealing with SHB or other pests with methods other than toxic chemicals.

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9 Responses to Killing Small Hive Beetles

  1. Sam Smith says:

    I have heard they (shb) are as far north as new york border thats only about 40 minutes from here, I do not know how bad the more northerly beetles get since they have to leave the hive to reproduce in the ground around it.

    • Jason says:

      I have been told by other beekeepers that they don’t believe SHB will be much of a problem around here. It doesn’t make me feel any better though finding new pests in my hives. I am going to be monitoring those hives closely, and NOT taking anymore to that site until I know the fate of those bees. I will just have to see. No one around here reports having beetles, I wonder why I got so lucky.

      As time goes on please let me know how you fare against them, if they come.

  2. Norman Sims says:

    I’ve tried many of the suggested ways to get rid of SHB. We have it bad here in Georgia. (You never actually get rid of them, you can just get them under control so the bees can handle them.) The absolute best way I have found is the Freeman SHB Trap. All the other traps are useless compared to this one. You can google it to find the website for Dixie Bee Supply to purchase it from Larry Freeman. Your hives have to be perfectly level because it has a tray you fill with mineral oil that kills the beetles and anything other pests that fall into it from inside the hive like moth larvae, ants, and roaches.

    • Jason says:

      Hey thanks!! I appreciate it because I am concerned about dealing with them. I will look into buying some of those.

      I have noticed that the hives infested with the beetles are building well. They seem to be tolerating them. Do your bees with beetles make more propolis? These bees are making it by the TON!!! My hives are all perfectly level because I use foundationless frames. It is the only way I can get them to draw true. I have no problem killing beetles with mineral oil.

      Thank you..

  3. Norman Sims says:

    I never noticed if they were making more propolis or not. I’ve had the beetles since my package bees first started making comb, so I don’t really have anything to compare it to.

    I have noticed there are significantly less beetles now than there were in the last two years. I don’t know if it’s because we have not hit the real summertime heat yet or because the traps are working great or what. I also applied nematodes to the ground around the hives a while back. No telling if that contributed to less beetles or not. I was trying everything I could find to fight them for two summers.

    • Jason says:

      Man I am sorry, I must have missed the e-mail alert about this response. Where did you get those nematodes from?

      Have you noticed a difference between hives on how they deal with SHB? Do some colonies deal with them better than others?

      One last thing. Do you have Beetles in pretty much all your hives? I have out yards that are not infested yet. Any pointers on dealing with honey supers that have beetles in them to keep from having beetles everywhere? Or am I just screwed?

  4. Pingback: Potential pitfalls to swarm trapping | LetMBee Blog

  5. Roger says:

    I have been beekeeping for 5 years, and never before 2016 have I had a hive beetle. Last year I had them in all 11 of my colonies. I ran in panic mode about all summer with them. For me the Swiffer unscented sheets caught hundreds of beetles. But they needed to be changed out almost weekly. Some of my stronger hives were ably to keep them somewhat at bay, but the SHB can sure rob some of the joy of beekeeping.
    < RR

    • Jason says:

      I started out with hive beetles at 1 of my sites about 5 years ago. Since then I have been finding them at more and more. Many of the sites I used to trap bees at never had hive beetles present in the traps, but they have for the last two or three years. What I have found is that some lines of bees tend to handle them better than others. My method has been, if they cannot cope with them that they must die and be replaced. 1109 is a colony I trapped back in 2011. They are at the initial yard and were the first colony I noticed beetles in. I have never treated them and that colony has been one of my biggest honey producers consistently over the years.

      At other sites I have found that when bees are in full sun they aren’t affected by beetles as much. At one yard I have hives setting on a concrete pad. I have had SHB in many of the swarms brought to that site over the years, but they don’t persist in there like I see in other hive sites.

      I would recommend to anyone having problems with SHB to capture swarms and allow the colonies that can handle them to present themselves. Once you determine which trapping locations are sending you bees that can live with SHB focus on trapping from those areas. If you have ferals living near you they are living with SHB as well. If they are sending out viable swarms they are finding methods to overcome them. It is hard to watch a colony fail due to pest pressure, but I find it’s better focus on the goal of hardy treatment free stock and treat colonies that cannot hack it much like you would an employee that’s just not getting it. I try to staff my Apiary with quality candidates. If it doesn’t work out they are replaced.

      Good luck to you.

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