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Can freezing frames help to manage SHB (small hive beetle)?

Hey beekeepers,

We sometimes recommend freezing Flow Frames for wax moth, I’m wondering if anyone has tried this for Small Hive Beetles, and how successful this was?

The team here variously manage SHB with either vegetable oil, chux cloths, or SHB traps, along with ensuring that the colony is healthy and strong of course, but we were asked about freezing the frames as a method and are always keen to know what else is working for people so would love to hear your thoughts and experiences around this :slight_smile:

Why should it? I can’t see your rationale.

Small hive beetle pupates in the ground outside the hives and can fly several kilometers to find new hives.

Even if freezing did kill the beetle and it’s eggs you would need to freeze all the brood frames and the brood box itself to get rid of the beetle. And that would also destroy your bee brood too. And then the newly emerged beetles from outside the hive would just fly/climb in again.

Maybe I’m missing something here.

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You are correct about the beetles coming back. This would be something that you would continue to fight. The thinking about freezing the frames is so you don’t have them running all over the place when harvesting, as well as any eggs, or even anything else you don’t won’t in the honey as you filter it. Freezing them would only happen as you are getting them ready for the winter. If you harvest in the spring or summer and even fall with the frames in place filtering would suffice as your in the field and not in your home.

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I think it would depend on what you were hoping to achieve. I freeze the Flow frames (and any traditional frames) before storing them over winter. The goal is to kill off wax moth eggs and SHB eggs so that they won’t run riot over winter.

I would not use it as a method of controlling the numbers in an active hive though. I don’t think it is practical for that purpose, and when there are bees on the frames, other methods are better (I use oil traps for SHB).

:blush:

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Thanks all for your responses. Yes I believe the intention of the person enquiring was to kill of any SHB eggs in the frames, as Dawn said. However, it sounds like this isn’t really a useful solution (and makes more sense now why none of us are using this method :wink:). I appreciate the swift responses and extra information, thanks everyone.

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I send frames thru the freezer for a pre-storage or pre-sale zap, but that’s it.

For beetle management - addition to using the oil traps Dawn mentioned - I no longer scrape off what I used to think was just burr comb on the top of the inner cover, but is actually ‘beetle jail’ comb. These look like little igloos of wax and always have one or two bees patrolling around them. I realized their purpose after seeing beetles scurrying madly out as I would start removing them, inadvertently granting the little buggers undeserved freedom :woman_facepalming: Reading further on the nasty subject of SHB confirmed that bees do construct these holding cells for them, to effectively prevent them from reproducing throughout the hive.

By the way, I read in the same scholarly article that hive bodies painted white or red/pink are most attractive to SHB. I suppose these colors contrast best with greenery and are easier for them to navigate to. I’m sure they can smell a beehive from some distance, but it seems they also spot them. Those setting up new apiaries or those who’ve done a thorough job of dealing with them in the soil as well as their hives might find this worth considering.

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HI Eva, That’s interesting to know about the paint colours as white in particular is a popular choice for hives. Do you have a link to the article still, it sounds like it might be worth a read. Thanks for the info!

I have seen figures of up to 15km quoted!! Although a pest you have to admire nature.

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“ Research indicates that flying beetles are attracted to certain colors more than others: white and a several shades of pink and fuchsia are the most attractive to adult SHB. This knowledge should perhaps be taken into consideration when painting hive boxes.”

So many white beehives :woman_facepalming:

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Hi Eva,
Thanks for sharing this article, I look forward to having a read :slight_smile:

It’s been my experience that hive beetles only lay eggs beneath or around food that the larvae will feast on. Therefore there shouldn’t be any hive beetle eggs present on empty frames. The food being brood, dead & dying bees, as well as pollen. Also, unless the eggs are laid at the base of brood, which will hide them, they are quite visible. They resemble clusters of blowfly eggs.

It’s a good idea to freeze all of the muck, including beetle larvae etc. after scraping down equipment after a slime-out. Try to avoid larvae getting into the ground, where they will complete their life cycle. An alternative to freezing would be in a sealed bucket in the sun. That will kill all the larvae.

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