Re SHB, there’s only one strategy I use, keep the worker population up & most importantly, keep the drone population to a bare minimum. SHB is a major problem in my area.
Why would drone population affect the SHB population?
Hi, as your aware, the drones don’t do any work in the hive. It stands to reason that the drones wont chase the beetle into hiding places. If you have a lot of drones in the brood, the beetle can crawl under them & lay eggs in the comb the drones are resting on. I found this out for myself. Keeping the brood with the maximum of worker comb & a minimum of drone comb is the best advice anyone can give in relation to SHB.
An interesting theory Jeff, would be good to get some study on this. I’ll makes some enquiries into the Dept of Primary Industries to see if any work has been done on SHB Control with this in mind.
Thanks Rod, well it works for me, there’s a lot of beetle in my area, I don’t use any traps whatsoever. What I do use is a vinyl mat on top of the frames, that stops the bees building comb up to the underside of the lid, the bees have access all round to occupy that space. It lets me know how the hives population is going & tells me if a hive is getting ready to swarm or not. BUT, it gives the beetle somewhere to hide, between the mat & top bars of the frames. The bees chase the beetle till they find somewhere to hide, then the bees propolize them in. I squash as many as I can whenever I lift the mat. However, what I’m doing is working.
JeffH: When you can will you please post a photo of the mat on top of the frames? Does it reach all 4 walls of your hive? Sorry, I am a visual person I have been chemical free beek for 6 years which is different than treatment free. Before that I had a mentor who had me use mite strips, mineral oil in beetle traps, etc. I felt out of my comfort zone.
Hi Gayle, it sits snugly on top of the frames but has a space all round so the bees can enter the lid space. I have a video on youtube of my strategy, I think the title is “beekeeping: my vinyl mat strategy”. My username is Jeff Heriot. If you get onto my channel & search “beekeeping” you’ll find lots of other beekeeping videos as well. There is a video of my no trap small hive beetle strategy included. cheers
Hi Jeff. Are you from the Sunshine Coast? May I ask you a question, as I am new to beekeeping. Yesterday I noticed a hail storm approaching and allot more bees were flying around the entrance than normal. With recent rainfall I’ve noticed water getting in my brood box and at the bottom my spacers are going black ( I only painted the outside). So with the storm coming and bees seemed disturbed for some reason. I quickly put a sheet of stiff foam on top of the hive box. It does not block their entrance but has given the hive a 15cm overhang roof. Is this a bad idea to leave it on?
Thank you Jeff. Appreciate your response. I did read it last week and my stress was relieved from your quick response. I have saved your phone number too. Have you bought any Flow frames? I get my 7 Flows in September, you are welcome to come see them if you have not. I noticed online your videos eating and cooking from your Sapoti tree etc. My tree is full but I can not seem to work out that perfect time of ripeness. I have many fruiting trees too, my favourite is the Jaboticarba that my family love to eat. My husband makes wine from. Look forward to meeting you for some great advise.
My dad has a Warre hive down on the south coast NSW, and we were seeing a lot of SHB in the chux cloth in the top of the hive, so we put a beetle trap in, one of the black plastic types with Aphidor inside the harbourage.
Dad was curious to see how many were caught, so he opened it (carefully, wearing gloves) after we replaced the trap - result is below, this is about 2 months worth:
I love Apithor, only cost a few bucks and last for months.
My “no trap SHB strategy” is as follows: 1. Keep the hive strong. 2. Keep the % of drones down to a minimum, more importantly, avoid large clusters of drones in the brood. 3. Provide hiding places for the beetle. The hive mat is ideal for this purpose. 4. Don’t have any frames in the brood, (or the whole hive for that matter) that contain brood or pollen, without a good covering of worker bees. 5 Don’t leave anything laying around such as frames containing pollen or brood. Slumgum: they breed up large juicy beetle larvae in that.
@JeffH - I’m not keen on Killing drones just to keep numbers down - it affects the genetic diversity- Only if I had and “infestation” to worry about would I be doing this.
Every time Beeks kill off Drones they risk narrowing the DNA pool for mating Queens - this will eventually have a knock on effect for all the local beekeepers
@Valli My strategy is not to kill drones. More to the point, keep the numbers down. During swarm season this can be achieved by preempting swarm control measures. Using full sheets of foundation in the brood works for me. Small pockets of drones throughout the brood is fine, it’s when you have large pockets of drones in the brood, that’s where the potential for SHB damage lies. Only today I returned some stickies. After a couple of days, if there’s a honey flow on, the bees will build comb in the gaps. I use all queen excluders. I notice some hives built the new comb with worker comb & other hives built the new comb with drone comb. Made me realise the hives building the new comb with worker comb must be happy with the amount of drone comb in the brood boxes. If you don’t have SHB to worry about, my strategy wouldn’t suit you., PS if you did have your bees in a SHB area, you’d be well advised to avoid that “infestation” in the first place. It’s every bit as messy, smelly & ugly as you see in the photos, only more so.
Can the Apithor trap fit into the bottom of the Flow hive and the SHB trap fit between the Flow frames OK?
Apithor is designed to sit on the bottom board of any hive, though I wouldn’t be using it up in the Super. It’s basically a CD style case with a pesticide concealed from the bees, the beetle goes in and never comes out.
If you have a mix of flow frames and regular Lang frames you can put shb traps between the Langs. All flows…no
I finally have my flow frames in my hive. No space for beetle traps though so I am have the brood box with traps and my screened oil tray at the base. I only seem to find 5-10 dead beetles a week in oil tray and the a few in traps of the powder. And I never see beetles in the hive when I inspect. Ive had the flows in for a few weeks and my bees have not move in to fill yet…maybe my colony is not big enough yet. One thing I have notices is a small white moth caught in a flow frame? have no idea what it is.
Hi @Gekoski, Good to hear you have started with the flow frames. Sometimes it will take the bees a little while to move into the super especially if they still have some room in the brood box. If the brood box isn’t mostly full of drawn comb and all frames mostly covered in bees the colony ma not be big enough yet.
Here is a great little summary on a lot of the major bee pests, take a look if the moth is similar to the wax moth in those pictures. If it is only one dead moth and no other signs of wax moth it is probably not worth worrying about.
Debbie Delaney Talk about Pests including small Hive Beetles at 2015 National Honey Show
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBAScXbUQ2w&feature=youtu.be Very good video