Author Topic: Small Hive Beetles  (Read 1275 times)

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Offline Wandering Man

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Small Hive Beetles
« on: March 18, 2019, 08:57:00 am »
SHB arrived with the first 2 nucs we bought 3 years ago. There were very few at first, but it seems we had more each year. I fought back with DE, beetle jails, Freeman traps, nematodes, and handiwipes.

We still seemed to have more each year.

Then we had to move the hives last year because of aggression. And we moved them again less than a month later, because the land owner was worried about how close to the road they were.

We requeened all 3 with BeeWeaver’s queens.

I’ve not seen an SHB since the move or the requeening. Think we left them behind? Will it just be a matter of time before they show up again? Or could the more defensive/hygienic bees be doing a better job of keeping them out?

These bees seem to be more vigilant than the previous stock.


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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Small Hive Beetles
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2019, 03:26:26 pm »
I heard Jerry Baker, American Bee Journal In The Classroom, say recently that one of the things SHB are attracted to honey bee pheromones.  Defensive pheromones in particular.  So when you open a hive and don't smoke, defensive pheromones will be released.  A colony that is pestered by yellow jackets would be a good example too.  Being defensive and a colony that is weak or on a down hill spiral sometimes go together.
I have a colony in a location that is in the middle of Kansas City.  It's in the oldest part of the city.  It sets on concrete and I have never seen a SHB in there.  I don't suppose there are many beekeepers in the area either.
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Offline Lburou

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Re: Small Hive Beetles
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2019, 08:55:43 pm »
My friends and I have noted that BWeaver bees always have fewer SHB.  You are not alone.  :)
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Offline ptwat

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Re: Small Hive Beetles
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2019, 05:37:13 pm »
Anyone having SHB issues should look into H. Indica nematodes. I have my main yard that I treated with H. Indica for several years and I have no hive beetle issues. I rarely see them but when I do it is normally less than five. Maybe the have recently flown in. I also have a few hives about 100 ft from the main yard that do have hive beetles. That ground has never been treated but will be since I saw about ten beetles in one of the hives yesterday. I also ordered some H. Indica today to treat the ground around the two outlying hives. I should note that your success could be dependent on the soil you have. I have been very successful where others have not.
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Small Hive Beetles
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2019, 10:45:34 pm »
Anyone having SHB issues should look into H. Indica nematodes. I have my main yard that I treated with H. Indica for several years and I have no hive beetle issues. I rarely see them but when I do it is normally less than five. Maybe the have recently flown in. I also have a few hives about 100 ft from the main yard that do have hive beetles. That ground has never been treated but will be since I saw about ten beetles in one of the hives yesterday. I also ordered some H. Indica today to treat the ground around the two outlying hives. I should note that your success could be dependent on the soil you have. I have been very successful where others have not.
I know Keith Delplane, University of Georgia entomology department,  promotes nematodes.  I have tried them and did not have any success.  You are probably right that soil has a lot to do with it.  Soil probably has a lot to do with small hive beetles as well.

Offline Mikey N.C.

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Re: Small Hive Beetles
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2019, 08:14:28 pm »
Ants to I believe

Offline Wandering Man

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Re: Small Hive Beetles
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2019, 08:56:42 pm »
Ants to I believe

I’ve got a friend who says you should welcome ants near your hives because the eat the larvae. Other friends are strong advocate of chickens.
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Offline Mikey N.C.

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Re: Small Hive Beetles
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2019, 09:20:17 pm »
Yes , I thank so to ants are a good thing.

Offline RAST

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Re: Small Hive Beetles
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2019, 07:39:05 am »
Yes , I thank so to ants are a good thing.
Not if they are the Florida bull ant/carpenter ant. They are persistent in trying to enter a hive and will decimate a small weak hive or split. The bees seem to have no defense against them, however they are capable of killing the bee with their bite. The queen ant will then proceed to lay in the comb. They are one of the reasons I quit using screen bottom boards. 
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Offline neillsayers

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Re: Small Hive Beetles
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2019, 07:58:40 pm »
Anyone having SHB issues should look into H. Indica nematodes. I have my main yard that I treated with H. Indica for several years and I have no hive beetle issues. I rarely see them but when I do it is normally less than five. Maybe the have recently flown in. I also have a few hives about 100 ft from the main yard that do have hive beetles. That ground has never been treated but will be since I saw about ten beetles in one of the hives yesterday. I also ordered some H. Indica today to treat the ground around the two outlying hives. I should note that your success could be dependent on the soil you have. I have been very successful where others have not.

Thanks Ptwat,
I have heard and read good things about nematode as a management tool. In addition, Welcome!  :)
Neill Sayers
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Offline Newbee

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Re: Small Hive Beetles
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2020, 08:07:24 am »
I had big populations of SHB last year. This year I treated one of the hives with Diatomaceous Earth heavily around the outside. Both hives were new this year, both got  a beetle-trap at the same time. The treated hive has shown zero signs of SHB, the un-treated one has had 1 beetle appear in the beetle-trap over the course of 6 weeks.
I started treating the other hive with DE heavily around the outside. It may be the bee's, they are different than last years, but...  shrug, YMMV.

- K

Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Small Hive Beetles
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2020, 09:55:15 am »
https://www.ars.usda.gov/southeast-area/baton-rouge-la/honeybeelab/docs/small-hive-beetles/  This is a good website for understanding the life cycle of SHB.  By the time the larvae travel down into the soil, they have hatched, fed, and slimed the frames.  So, your method of using DE may not solve the immediate problem, but it may help control future populations. They feed off the protein, aka pollen, in the cells.  I do disagree with the methods, that the article suggests, for control. In the author's defense, it comes out of Louisiana where SHB can be awful.

Another area the SHB can reproduce is on a littered bottom board.  It's a good reason to clean the BB.

Keep us posted on your results, Newbee!  I have some DE, but have yet to apply it.  The talk among beekeepers here is that we are not seeing bad infestations of SHB this year.  I am only seeing them in a colony that is not as strong as it should be. How thick do you apply DE?

Offline Wandering Man

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Re: Small Hive Beetles
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2020, 12:52:31 pm »
Thanks for the revival of this thread.  It reminded me to start spreading DE under my hives yesterday.  I think we brought a bunch of them with us to the new property.  We're also going to have a battle with wasps, I fear.
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Offline neillsayers

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Re: Small Hive Beetles
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2020, 06:42:53 pm »
 As part of the Master Beekeeper program at U of Montana I had to conduct an original experiment and write a paper detailing my results. My experiment was on the effect of migratory lids versus telescopic lids on SHB numbers in the hive. I found conclusively that migratory covers with a poly weave plastic inner cover, drastically controlled SHB, I assume, by making it easier for the housekeeping bees to control them.
 If anyone is interested, I still have it on PDF and would be glad to post it here. :)
Neill Sayers
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Offline RAST

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Re: Small Hive Beetles
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2020, 07:10:21 pm »
 I had to look up the "polyweave inner cover". A plastic film used in greenhouses? I run migratory tops but no inner cover, I would be inhterested in seeing this.

Offline neillsayers

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Re: Small Hive Beetles
« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2020, 10:32:58 pm »
Rast,
 Literally talking about the plastic feed sacks that dog, horse and chicken feed come in. I have lots of critters so I have lots of them.  :)
 Tomorrow I will try to upload my report.
Neill Sayers
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Small Hive Beetles
« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2020, 10:35:24 am »
Rast,
 Literally talking about the plastic feed sacks that dog, horse and chicken feed come in. I have lots of critters so I have lots of them.  :)
 Tomorrow I will try to upload my report.

I look forward to seeing your post.

Offline neillsayers

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Re: Small Hive Beetles
« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2020, 02:55:35 pm »
I can't figure out how to post this paper, so my bride thinks she can post it on her webpage and I'll post a link.
Neill Sayers
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Offline neillsayers

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Re: Small Hive Beetles
« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2020, 03:19:52 pm »
Couldn't get the images to paste, gonna try separate post

EXPERIMENT TO EXPLORE EQUIPMENT CHANGES TO AID IN SMALL HIVE BEETLE CONTROL.
Neill Sayers
Master Beekeeping Class University of Montana August 28, 2019
Introduction
 The Small Hive Beetle (Aethina tumida Murray), SHB for short, arrived in North America from sub-saharan Africa in 1998. From its first identification in southern Florida it has spread throughout the southern U.S., and is now found almost anywhere managed honey bee colonies can be found.
It is approximately 5-5.7mm in length and 3mm wide. They seek out and enter the hive by whatever means they can find. It is believed that they find the hives by olfactory cues. I actually observed one flying boldly into the hive entrance as if it belonged there. Once inside, females seek a hidden crevice in which to lay eggs. A female small hive beetle may lay 1,000 eggs in her lifetime, although data suggest that the number of eggs produced in one female's lifetime might be upwards of 2,000.
The guard bees will chase and harass the pests until they find a hiding place to lay low. The hard body of these beetles is nearly impossible for the guard bees to harm them in any way. Once they have one cornered in a crevice, they often will propolize them in place or stand guard to keep them there. These imprisoned beetles do not die of starvation because they can beg food from their captors by rubbing their antenna on the bee’s mandibles causing them to regurgitate food. Although this does tie up a limited amount of the hive’s labor resources, at this level they do very little damage to the colony.
The potential for harm is realized if the colony becomes stressed and weakened for any reason. Disease, such as varroa infestation, brood disease, or dearth of supplies can leave a colony unable to deal with these pests. At this time the female will try to lay eggs near the brood nest where her larvae will feed on brood, honey and pollen. As the larvae eat their way through these resources, they will defecate in the honey stores. This will start runaway fermentation that turns the comb into a slimy, reeking ruinous mess. The smell repels bees and at some point, can lead to the colony absconding.

 This scenario can develop quite rapidly. Anyone who has lost a hive to this slimy mess will never forget it.
Standard advice to new beekeepers is to keep strong, well-populated hives. This is sound advice and my experience is that SHB are not likely to overcome a strong colony. I lost 4 hives in late season 2017, but the initial cause was not the SHB. At that time all of my bees were pure Russian strain. This strain of honey bee is known for wintering with a very small population and will cut off brood-rearing early in the fall. The beekeeper’s in my area suffered greatly with yellow jacket robbing attacks. The yellow jackets attacked my hives at a time that I was away on business for over a week. I came home to piles of dead bees and yellow jackets. Naturally, the SHB exploded and ruined almost all the comb and honey.
This advice should also be considered when making splits, hiving packages and any other circumstances where colony resources are not strong enough to cope with these little irritants.
Over the last few years I have tried traps of various kinds with some success. I have used cut pieces of generic dust mop refills placed on top of the brood nest. The housekeeper bees will try to remove it and their efforts will shred it in such a way that SHB will get snagged hopelessly in it. The occasional bee will also get trapped but the numbers of beetles trapped is impressive.
My current management tool and the object of this experiment came out of necessity. I had to split a couple of strong hives to prevent swarming and I was out of telescoping covers and inner covers. I had a few migratory covers and I cut a feed sack for an inner cover to prevent the cover from getting propolized shut. I soon noticed I wasn’t seeing the scurrying little beetles every time I went into these hives. I was so encouraged I refitted all of my hives with this top combination. I wintered over with six out of six hives surviving.
The poly-weave inner covers once installed are propolized to the top bars of frames. This eliminates upper bee space, but it also eliminates possible hideouts for the SHB. I haven’t had any problems with wonky comb being built because of this.
Questions:
As encouraging as these results are it still leaves me with nagging questions.
Is this a coincidence? is it conceivable that my bees have developed a more effective coping strategy for dealing with these pests? Is it repeatable? Clearly, I need to switch back to the telescopic cover and inner cover to see if SHB return as before.

 My Experiment:
I designated six hives of comparable population strength to be my test subjects. For data collection purposes they were placed in two groups of three as follows:
Group 1- This group would continue with a migratory top with a poly-weave plastic inner cover. This group includes Hives L1, L3, L5.
Group 2- This group was fitted with telescopic covers and wooden inner covers. This group includes Hives L2, L4, L6.
All test hives are placed on hive benches. L1-L4 are on one bench with L5 and L6 are next to one another on the next bench behind. I chose the test hives to be next to each other in all cases. My intention is to find a clear difference if any exists.
All hives were fitted with two SHB traps each. The trap I used is new to my experience. I chose it because it allows for dumping captured beetles and refilling with lure as needed. (see figure 1)


I made my own lure using common household kitchen items. Here is the recipe:
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup 1-1 simple sugar syrup
1 overly ripe banana peel diced finely
Add all the ingredients to a quart jar and shake well. Allow to ferment for at least two weeks and its ready to use.
Each trap has two compartments to trap beetles and a center compartment for the lure. In the trapping compartments I added diatomaceous earth to about 1⁄4” deep. The lure compartment was filled with my lure.

 Traps are then placed diagonally across from each other at the top of the brood chamber. (See figure 2)
 Fig. 2 SHB traps at opposite ends of the brood box.
My intention from the outset was to inspect weekly for three parameters. 1) Hive strength measured in number of frames covered in bees.
2) Number of live SHB seen scurrying about upon lifting inner cover. 3) Number of SHB found in trap compartment.
Unfortunately, the weather in my area was uncooperative during the first two weeks of the test. I was able to rush in and installed the needed traps and covers but the weather was very rainy and inhospitable for an inspection for the first and second week. After that I was able to get in and get the weekly data I was anticipating.
Data Gathered
Throughout the experiment I noticed that there was more live SHBs in the hives with the telescopic cover/inner cover combo. I assume this is due to availability of hiding places for the beetles.
To my thinking, the live and free beetles are a potential problem. These are the beetles that will create larvae and larvae are responsible for all of the damage inflicted on the hive.
I have kept a spreadsheet of all three of the critical data I have been gathering. Now that I am at the end of the test, I can summarize my key findings.

Summary of Findings
When all the data is compiled it becomes apparent that migratory cover group were able to keep live and loose SHB at a much lower level than the telescopic cover/inner cover group. (See figure 3)



Conclusions
This test has convinced me that this method can be an effective tool to help the bees manage the levels of SHB in their hives. All beekeeping is local and as such, I have no Idea how using migratory covers exclusively would impact the colonies of beekeepers in other regions and climate.
In particular, I was initially concerned about my hives being able to survive winter with this woodenware option. I build all of my hive benches with a slight forward tilt of approximately 1⁄4” to foot. This is to allow condensed moisture to flow toward the front of the inner cover and down the front of the hive and out the entrance. I didn’t have any losses and my hives were built up to split levels very early this spring. That said, my winters are very mild, and the trend indicates they will continue to be mild.
For all beekeeper’s in climates with severe winters, I would proceed cautiously before making these changes. At the very least, it could be worthwhile to try during the warm months when SHB are at their worst.


Neill Sayers
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Offline neillsayers

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Re: Small Hive Beetles
« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2020, 03:51:56 pm »
Man, that was difficult, at least for me. Here are the figs it wouldn't paste. One will need to click on the item to see the full image. I truly hope this helps someone out. It is my belief that if one keeps bees in SHB territory, you will have SHB. The bees will have to deal with them one way or another. This could possibly be a tool to help them out.


Where I got them
https://www.amazon.com/Beekeeping-Plastic-Beekeeper-Equipment-Reusable/dp/B07TC3X729/ref=sr_1_15?
dchild=1&keywords=SHB+trap&qid=1595015663&sr=8-15








Neill Sayers
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