Beetle jail, SHB trap. Thoughts?

Continuing the discussion from Hands on Mite spotting:
Found this while reading up on the SHB. Looks like it could be an interesting way to divert the beetles and trap them before they get into the hive.

Interesting read.

I read that as well…

Beetlejail works a treat, I use them in combination with a slotted bottom board with oil traps. I thoroughly recommend them if you have beetle problem.


With the slotted bottoms and the oil do you have to worry about the bees getting down into that space or are the spaces between the slates smaller then a bee can fit?

Very nice might look a little deeper into those

The slots are too thin for bees but big enough for beetles and beetle larva to fall through the cracks. I use a modified wire coat hanger to keep the slots clear every couple of months as the bees try to close them up with wax and propolis but they do work.
See photo below, it is the one on the right and the oil tray that slides underneath the board is just to the left. In case you ask, the black square plastic device on the bottom board is an Apithor chemical harbouridge trap for SHB and available in Australia.


I’m importing 20 of these from USA - waiting on cost of combined freight…

1 Like

I installed them with bees in the hive… wasn’t a good move on my part. Many stings and too many dead bees even though it was a cold & wet day. Won’t do that again… :grimacing:

SHB traps have been much less successful than screened bottom boards for me in my Top Bar Hives, so I don’t even use the traps. Maybe they will work better in the Flow Langs when they arrive. Also, for those in the US, Swiffer (dry,unscented) cloths are said to be effective below the screen for catching the beetles.My screen and bottom board are too close for this to work for me, the cloth catches on the screen (I was very disappointed as I hate squishing things) but it may work like a bomb for you. Propolis has not been a problem, there is only a small amount at the very edges of the screens.

Everyone has different experiences in beekeeping, part of what makes it so interesting.

1 Like

Hi all

I have seen two types of SHB traps here in Oz.

One, in three versions, allows the beetle to get through a slot but not the bees, then the beetles are killed by something, oil (and vinegar), a natural powder (diatomaceous earth, hydrated lime), or a chemical.

The other is a mat with a furry side. The bees chase the beetles into nooks and crannies and the mat hangs like a frame with the furry side against the wall. The beetles get trapped in the strands. If it is too far from the wall, bees can get trapped too. I find this mat more effective that the organic traps mentioned above and I’d put two in the brood box. One on either side. I don’t use the chemical traps.

What I find is even more effective than the mats is modifying the lid and bottom board, such that they become SHB traps. I notice the Australian lids seem a little different from the US ones, but the idea should work with the latter too.

In Oz, the lids I’ve seen have two parts and don’t extend over the edge of the box. The metal part can be taken off by removing four small nails in the corners. The lid is then turned upside down and small vents are secured in the lid. I put 8 vents around the outer edge. Then the same organic powder used in the traps mentioned above can be spread and the bees chase the beetles through the vents. I use hydrated lime, as that is cheaper than diatomaceous earth, which has to be considered, due to the amount used.

The bottom board is separate from the brood box, which just sits on top of it, rather than being connected, as we usually find. Then a screen, such as a propolis collector, becomes the new bottom of the hive, with the entrance about level with it. Under that is a tray with the same organic powder used in the traps mentioned above. This tray can be removed from the back of the hive. There is a flap of plastic that covers the tray door, to stop water getting in, which is secured between the brood box and the bottom board. A local bee supplier intends to make them. I like them better than the Hive Doctor bottom boards from NZ, as they are wooden and would therefore provide more insulation to the hive.

Thus the lid and the bottom board are traps that can be checked without disturbing the bees, much (re lid) or at all (re bottom board).

Hope that helps.

Best wishes


BEGINNER here. I live in SE QLD and we made a beetle trap that looks the same as the screen on left of picture above. It covers the entire bottom of the Langdorth 10 frame brood box. We got the screen from Bunnings/laundry section. Holes are 4mm wide and 3 mm high. Below it we made a metal tray the same size that we fill with oil. The tray slides out to inspect and refill. I had a concern that maybe mature beetles may not fit through screen gaps as the screen holes are diamond shape. Each week I remove at least 15 beetles and many ants. I do notice pollen balls have fallen into it. Not sure if this is a concern. My bees seem very busy. Now winter here but plenty of flowering trees , so I do not feed my bees. 5 weeks ago I started with a new nuc of 4 frames. I’ve had them in my 10 frame Langdorth full size brood box for 5 weeks now. My bees are now onto the last outer frames. All the frames are getting full of brood pollen and honey. Outer frames more so money. So far all seems happy and healthy.


Hi Amelia, sounds like you have it all figured out. If you are finding beetles in the oil, then I would not worry too much about their size as you have the wire gauge right. To keep the ants out, you could stand your hive in a tray of water or put vaseline around the uprights that the ants are crawling up.

1 Like

Cinnamon works like a bomb for ants. You can sprinkle it inside the hive also. Bees don’t mind it at all.


Aloha from the Big Island of Hawaii!
Living in the tropics makes the SHB a real problem. No winter to kill the little rascals. I run my hives with 4 traps to keep them under control. First I have Miller Bees Beetle Jails on my entrances then a combo of Freeman bottom boards with trays and Beetle Baffles to prevent the SHB from getting up into the hive. Finally I put a couple AJs beetle traps from Australia on the topmost frames to catch the really sneaky ones. I pull about 100 dead SHB every two weeks per hive. It’s a labor of love for all my HOT TAILED girlfriends. :heart_eyes:


Phew! … @Apple, I am now glad we have a winter here in Australia. I recently bought one of the AJs Beetle Traps but haven’t got around to using it yet (as it is Winter! :grimacing:) Does it work as well as your other traps? Have to admit I am a bit of a fan of the BeetleJail.

Hey Rod,
AJs are a little tricky with the oil and gloves on but they work and kill their share of SHBs. I had to get them from Australia cuz I don’t see them for sale here in the U.S. I just place a couple on the top frames in the hive. I’ve lost a few hives to the SHB and I’m hoping they won’t mess up Flow Hive action. I’m scheduled for Nov. receiving so we will see.


wow …100 beetles in 2 weeks. do you see them all over the place when you inspect hive? I live in Sub tropical QLD Australia would be similar weather to you. I’ve heard of many bee keepers where I live lost all their hives to the SHB. I never seem to see any when I inspect my hive. I am new to beekeeping so this forum is great.

Hi. Gekoski,
I don’t see too many of the pesky devils running free inside my hives which tells me my three methods must be working well. I buy my vegetable oil at Costco for pretty cheap and it’s a little tricky to use without making a mess but once you get the hang of it it goes pretty easily.
The Freeman bottom board with the slide in tray works well with the Varroa mites as well as the SHBs.
I can’t wait till December to try out the FLOW!!!


If you are using those small traps/jails that fit between the frames, consider using a syringe, which can be picked up at many supermarkets. Solves the mess.