My compost bin was absolutely filled with adult small hive beetles, and also maturing SHB cocoons. Every handful of compost had 3 to 4 adult beetles in it. There was no SHB larva though.
My compost bin sits 10 - 15 feet away from my Flow Hive. So far, the beehive seems to be doing fine. My hive is strong, with a booming population of worker bees.
It just seems stupid to harbor a SHB factory a short distance from my hive. My bees are my 1st priority, so earlier today, I put my entire compost pile into air-tight bags. (The compost was finished composting, and garden-ready.) I was thinking I’d wait several months before opening the air-tight bags.
Does anyone here compost? Have you had these issues? How can I have a beehive, and simultaneously have a compost bin?
In the past, before I had a beehive, I was only visited by good compost bugs, like solider fly larva. This is my first year with a Flow Hive, and the first year I have HUNDREDS of SHB in my compost.
All thoughts and advice are much appreciated. Thanks!
Personally, I take a photo and then search online. Here is one from my hives. It was the first one reported on the coast in San Diego, according to our local inspector when I sent him the photo. He sent out an alert afterwards:
I don’t make compost, but I do know that SHB originally evolved to breed on ripe fruit (not citrus though, I believe). The fermenting microbiome in their gut helps to break down the fruit into nutrients suitable for their proliferation.
These are pictures of what was in my compost bin. Are they SHB? I struggled to take a picture with enough detail, so I used a magnifying glass in front of the camera lens.
When I opened the bag this morning, everything was dead. All the beetles were on top of the compost material, and unmoving. Perhaps they ran out of oxygen? I had put the air-tight bag in the garage, out of the sun.
My compost contains mainly fresh grass clippings (green material) and dried dead fall leaves (brown material). The only human food I occasionally add to the compost is fresh coffee grounds. Yet… now that I think of it, a neighbor gifted me a jar of homemade jam (no idea what kind, dark red), and I put the whole thing in there. So maybe that’s what triggered this?!
I wonder if those cocoons are black soldier fly cocoons. Anyway it looks like you’re on top of it.
Have you considered worms as a means of composting stuff? You can use their liquid as a liquid fertilizer, as well as the castings. I found a great way to feed them grass clippings. I ferment it in water for 3 weeks before giving it to them, after a quick drain, which they love & move straight into. What I drain is also a liquid fertilizer.
I’m talking about leachate which I dilute to use as a liquid fertilizer, along with wax water, sometimes male human urine, as well as the liquid from fermented grass clippings. Female human (liquid gold) urine is much harder to come by.