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Small Hive Beetles and New Beekeeper advice

Home Forums HoneyLove Forum Small Hive Beetles and New Beekeeper advice

This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  jennifer 4 months, 1 week ago.

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
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  • #10890

    jennifer
    Participant

    Hello dear Bee Community,

    Hive (3 Mediums) was approaching full (8 out of 9 frames)
    4 weeks ago when we added a fourth box.

    Upon inspection, found a few small hive beetles scurrying
    on the lid and to our surprise, the fourth box un-touched….
    so far nothing intruding into the frames.

    Questions:

    1) Has anyone had success with microfibers? are there
    any that are untreated? Some have suggested unscented
    Swiffer sheets but even the unscented is most certainly
    treated…

    2) would it be best to remove the fourth box so the hive
    can focus on defending itself or move some frames
    from the third box to the fourth to encourage population?

    Hadn’t noticed an abundance of brood mostly worker cells
    and frames were mostly full of honey in each of the supers…
    3) Is this normal this time of year?

    4) Is diatomaceous earth around hive effective deterrent to
    any SHB larvae or might this hurt the bees… I’ve often
    seen a few of them walking around on the ground…?

    Any advice, comments would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you!

    #10892

    Karim Sahli
    Participant

    Hello.

    As one of my mentors put it, “SHB and wax moths are not the issue, they are the symptom.”
    It means the hive is weak or too small to handle the pest.

    I would refrain to use any chemicals, anywhere.
    Instead it is recommended to give less space for the bees.
    Remove that empty super. You’ll put it back in the fall.

    If the second super is not fully used, you may need to remove it as well.

    Another option would be to add more bees. Grab a swarm, remove the queen and add it to the colony. [ Warning: if your colony already has mites, it’s ok. If you have a low mite count, then do NOT add a swarm. ]

    You can also use a SHB trap with olive oil. Check youtube, there are several type of traps.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by  Karim Sahli.
    #10894

    susan rudnicki
    Moderator

    Hi, I am the Forum moderator. I will answer within the letter you wrote

    Hive (3 Mediums) was approaching full (8 out of 9 frames)
    4 weeks ago when we added a fourth box.
    What did the inspection reveal about the contents of the 3rd medium?

    For that matter, we need information about what the population of the lower 3 boxes was to make a knowledgeable answer to this question.

    Do you know for a fact that you have a laying queen? (EGGS must be confirmed)

    What was the SOURCE of this colony? Swarm? Package/breeder bees? Cutout?

    What date were they hived?

    Adding a 4th box to the colony in hopes of more honey harvest will only occur on a flow. You do not say where you are located, but there is a LOT of dryness right now and places where bees do not have a abundance of nectar. Taking honey from a hive in the first year is not usually possible.

    Upon inspection, found a few small hive beetles scurrying
    on the lid and to our surprise, the fourth box un-touched….
    so far nothing intruding into the frames.

    SHB under the lid are there because the bees drove them there. Some SHB are totally normal in even robust hives—the bees will take care of them. Hives do best with morning sun and no watering around the hive—SHB like damp and shade conditions.

    The 4th box is unused because there is no flow right now.

    Questions:

    1) Has anyone had success with microfibers? are there
    any that are untreated? Some have suggested unscented
    Swiffer sheets but even the unscented is most certainly
    treated…

    None of these treatments are endorsed in natural beekeeping and will not be needed as long as the hive is queen-right and robust

    2) would it be best to remove the fourth box so the hive
    can focus on defending itself or move some frames
    from the third box to the fourth to encourage population?

    This depends on the answers to the first questions I posed—how big is the brood nest and is the colony queen right? Brooding up to bring brood frames into a new box should only be done if you judge the forage and stored food is adequate to support more comb drawing and additional nurse bees.

    Hadn’t noticed an abundance of brood mostly worker cells
    and frames were mostly full of honey in each of the supers…
    3) Is this normal this time of year?

    The name for boxes is #1, #2, #3, based on order of occupancy. Box 1 is the bottom because it was occupied first. “super” is not a box size.
    If your colony is not queen right, the bees could be doing nothing but bringing in pollen and nectar to conform to their “jobs” instead of raising brood. You must verify there is eggs, open brood of all sizes and capped brood.

    4) Is diatomaceous earth around hive effective deterrent to
    any SHB larvae or might this hurt the bees… I’ve often
    seen a few of them walking around on the ground…?

    Again, strong bees do not need you to do things like this. The strength of the colony is of primary concern.
    If you are NOT queen right, as Karim mentioned, you may mitigate the problem by adding a Queen-right swarm. But, I do NOT advocate removing queens unless you think she is a drone layer or not laying at all. This is a more advanced determination, by the way—do you have a mentor to help you with all this? You should have one.

    I do not pay any attention to mite counts because all my hives are feral survivor stock and handle their mite issues successfully without my intervention. Depending on your answer to the sourcing of your colony, this will be your situation as well. If you do have package bees and are going “cold turkey” on them with treatments, this is not a viable option. They WILL die. Bees bred with genetic dependence on chemical treatments must have their treatments regularly—and even then, they die sometimes. The mites are evolving resistance to the chemicals, making the applications not work as intended.

    I hope this series of answers clarifies the many aspects of this post—you can always write back with other questions…..

    Any advice, comments would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you!

    #10898

    jennifer
    Participant

    Thanks so much Susan and Karim for all the helpful information.

    I’ve contacted my mentor and will do a more thorough inspection. I didn’t see a lot of eggs so, I suspect, as you’ve suggested, that indeed something is going
    on with the queen…

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