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Found some parasites in my hives. Please help me identify them.

Home Forums HoneyLove Forum Found some parasites in my hives. Please help me identify them.

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  • #9209
    Karim Sahli

    I found those black bugs in all my beehives.
    There are fast to hide. I didn’t see any of them on the back of a bee.
    Any idea what are they? And how to get ride of them WITHOUT pesticides?



    • This topic was modified 5 years, 6 months ago by Karim Sahli.

    Looks like small hive beetles:
    Hive Beetles

    via Michael Bush’s site:

    Small Hive Beetles.

    Another recent pest that were first identified in the US in 1996 and in Nebraska in 2007, is the Small Hive Beetle (Aethina tumida Murray). Sometimes abbreviated SHB. The damage they do is similar to the wax moths but more extensive and they are harder to control. If you smell fermentation in the hive and find masses of crawling, spiky looking larvae in combs you may have SHB. The only chemical controls approved for use are traps made with CheckMite and ground drenches to kill the pupae, which pupate in the ground outside the hive.

    While I have seen a few, I have not had any issues with these, but I will probably go to more PermaComb in the brood nests if they ever become too much of a problem. Strong hives seem to be the best protection.


    via Dennis Broderick (facebook response):
    Apparently they need to lay eggs or pupate in the dirt to complete the life cycle. Put something under the hive and spread some diatomaceous earth to interrupt that cycle. Mine is on a concrete pad.


    via Donna Reddick Wallace (facebook response):
    I put grease patties on my hives two weeks ago using the recipe in the link below. I did not want to use alot of grease the first time since I did not know how it was going to work. On my big hive (one deep and 3 medium supers) it has killed at least 100 small hive beetles in two weeks. They drop to the IMP board, and I just toss them out.


    via Cormac Farrell (facebook response):
    Here in Australia I use these: They do have a toxin, but it is sealed inside the housing that the bees chase the beetles into. Works extremely well, and very safe for the bees.

    Ruth Askren

    I use the “Freeman Beetle Board” (in addition to aggressive management strategies) since the Freeman board is a mechanical exterior treatment that put nothing inside the hive.

    I love the fact that my LA feral bees do so well without putting any substances like Crisco or essential oils in the hive. But to keep them this way I have found that I need to keep a close eye on hive space management.

    If you leave dead space (empty combs) in your hives, AND you have moisture constantly nearby (like an automatic drip watering outlet near the base of the hive) you WILL get SHB’s in southern California. Don’t water the ground under or near your hives and get them out of the shade if possible. Clear underbrush and dead leaves, that is perfect breeding ground for the pupae as Dennis mentioned.

    Most of your frames should be covered with bees, except maybe in early spring. You might have a couple/few frames that are empty-ish, but you want a high level of bee density in your hive to manage SHB and all pests.

    This is also the secret of great honey production, as Michael Bush has said, a hive has to be a bit crowded for the bees to be making extra honey.

    Karim Sahli

    WO! Thank you all for the fantastic response.

    I do have some empty spaces I can easily get ride of. I’ll wait for the rain to stop before doing so.

    My preference goes toward the mechanical solutions first.
    I will give those beetles a good oil bath before bringing some Crisco dessert at their table.

    Building an oil trap seems easy enough for me to give it a try.
    Expect some pictures!

    Thank you all!

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    • This reply was modified 5 years, 4 months ago by marry xiao.
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