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Beetles killed or ran off my Bees!


#1

We are new to beekeeping and so far have LOVED the flowhive. We, however, discovered that beetles invaded, killed or ran off our bees and now need to clean out the hive. (So far have not been successful) We would also love to know if there is anything to prevent the beetles invading again. We live in Arizona, United States.


#2

Any clue what kind of beetles? If they are small hive beetles (SHB), then there are methods for deterring them, using various traps in the hive and careful handling of the boxes and bees. Otherwise, I wouldn’t know what to recommend.


#3

The only time I’ve seen what you are describing is when a hive has weakened to the point that beetles can thrive.


#4

Thank you, I believe they were the SHB and over ran the hive. I need to invest in the traps. Is there a brand you recommend?


#5

What can we do to keep the hive strong enough so the beetles cannot thrive?


#6

Keep the mites in check:They carry viruses that weaken the bees.


#7

Do you use powdered sugar to keep them in check?


#8

I haven’t had a problem with SHB myself, but I have heard people say good things about this trap:
http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com/Beetle-Blaster-Sold-Individually/productinfo/207/

As @Red_Hot_Chilipepper says, make sure you control other pests like varroa. You can’t control them with just powdered sugar. Options for control are making sure that you have a VSH queen (Varroa Sensitive Hygiene) and then performing sugar shake or alcohol wash counts for varroa. Just counting mites on a sticky board isn’t accurate enough. If the mite counts become a concern, you need to treat. If you want to be “organic”, you can treat with Oxalic Acid vapor, Formic Acid strips or some formulation of Thymol (extract of thyme herb). Some people never treat, but if you choose that method, you risk losing the hive. Fine if you have several or many hives, but a total loss if you only have one hive.

However, to keep a strong hive, you also need to focus on:

  1. Don’t expand the hive space too fast. Keep the hive as crowded with bees as you can, and they will find it easier to defend their space and deal with the pests. Only add space when all frames have fully drawn comb and are 80% full of food or brood. Every frame should be well-covered with bees.
  2. Be very slow and gentle in handling frames and boxes. SHB love dead bees. If you squish a bee and the bees can’t remove the trapped body, it can be a feast for a lot of beetle larvae.
  3. Carefully collect all of your burr comb and remove it from the apiary. Don’t drop it on the ground - another free meal for beetles.

Hope this gives you some ideas for next time.