Small hive beetles

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reedyfork
Guard bee
Posts: 109
Joined: Sun Mar 31, 2019 6:09 am

Small hive beetles

Post by reedyfork »

Anyone else noticing an increase in small hive beetles this summer and fall? Up until now, I've never seen more than a few in my hives, but when I opened them up last week, it seemed like they were everywhere!

My three hives are in full sun, screened bottom boards, Beetle Blaster traps inside, and Guardian beetle traps on the entrances. All three hives did swarm this summer, so maybe that time with reduced bee populations allowed the beetles to establish a foothold inside?

Just curious if there's anything else folks have had success with to manage them...
quentin
Forager
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Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:23 pm

Re: Small hive beetles

Post by quentin »

Have not had an issue with beetles this year. I have fewer beetles since reducing the entrance to about 1 inch. Weak populations can increase beetles. Too much space in hive is not good. Mite issues can weaken hive/reduce populations which encourage beetles.
DuaneB
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Location: High Point, NC

Re: Small hive beetles

Post by DuaneB »

I have 2 yards. The bees at the house have not really had a problem with beetles. My outyard, in Jamestown, on the other hand, those hives have an abundance of beetles. Worse I'm seen out there in a while.
quentin
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Re: Small hive beetles

Post by quentin »

Maybe hive beetles are like real estate, location,location,location?
Jacobs
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Location: Greensboro, NC

Re: Small hive beetles

Post by Jacobs »

It was an ugly winter for early bee build up, but not ugly enough to knock down small hive beetles. I am crushing scary numbers of SHB on the inner covers of some of my strong hives that get partial shade during the day. I am in the process of doing some supering for the flow (if the next 2 freeze nights don't kill it) but will be sure to do a bit more frequent checks on hives after giving the bees more comb to patrol.
frank
Nursebee
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Joined: Wed May 17, 2017 9:36 am
Location: Greensboro, NC

Re: Small hive beetles

Post by frank »

Thanks for the heads-up. Fortunately they never caused a major for me yet but it is important to keep their numbers in check. Have been using beetle blasters for a while but did not get good results yet.
royl
Forager
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Re: Small hive beetles

Post by royl »

Don Hopkins mentioned a couple months ago a higher than normal shb counts this year (2021).
Personally, I'm seeing a high number of SHB very early this year, most likely b/c of the shb population that over wintered. Last year was a tough year for me in south gbo related b/c of shb. I have a similar setup of guardian entrances, screen bottomboard with diatomatious earth in the tray, beetle traps at the top...etc. Next will be to target the ground around the hives and get more sunlight on them.
Jacobs
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Location: Greensboro, NC

Re: Small hive beetles

Post by Jacobs »

I was finishing up checking and feeding hives earlier this afternoon and was surprised/shocked to have to kill 35+ SHB beneath the inner cover of one of my stronger hives at the house. I saw a few SHB in another of the hives. My guess/fear is that the other hives have SHB overwintering with them but are not strong enough to be able to push the beetles to the top of the hive and hold them there. I'm hoping the real winter weather we are having will at least knock down SHB trying to overwinter in other locations.
Jacobs
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Location: Greensboro, NC

Re: Small hive beetles

Post by Jacobs »

I'm finally able to get deep into my hives, but in opening several at the house, I have run into scary numbers of SHB. Fortunately, the colonies are strong enough that they had chased the beetles into inner covers or into open comb in the top supers. No functioning colony at the house had SHB larvae. I found that the j-hook hive tool works really well gliding along an inner cover and crushing large "herds" of SHB.
reedyfork
Guard bee
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Joined: Sun Mar 31, 2019 6:09 am

Re: Small hive beetles

Post by reedyfork »

I just got done opening every one of my hives to install FormicPro treatments, and noticed the same thing about SHBs. I don't have traps or sheets this year, but the bees seem to be doing a great job of pushing and corralling them to the top corners of the inner cover. I'm squashing anywhere from 5-10ish SHBs. Not scary numbers (to me), but sure satisfying to squash them!

The coolest thing I saw was one of my hives had constructed a rectangular propolis "jail" between the inner cover and one top bar, and the SHBs were herded into this chamber. I had never seen this before and thought it was really cool.
reedyfork
Guard bee
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Joined: Sun Mar 31, 2019 6:09 am

Re: Small hive beetles

Post by reedyfork »

I ran a little pseudo-experiment this year to test some of the theories about SHBs and thought the results were pretty interesting...

Hive 1 was in complete full sun, solid bottom board, and on a stand over a concrete slab.
Hive 2 was in afternoon shade, screened bottom board, on a stand over dirt/grass.

Both hives were in the same backyard separated by about 25'. I did not put any sort of beetle traps or Swiffer sheets in either hive. I have yet to see more than a couple beetles TOTAL in Hive 1. However, the beetles number in Hive 2 were SCARY a couple weeks ago! The bee population is large enough that they were managing them and I didn't see any damage, but there were piles of dozens of beetles in all the corners, running over frames, etc. (I immediately added traps to try and reduce before winter).

I realize there were multiple variables at play here, but thought this best-case vs. worst-case scenario was neat to witness first-hand.
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