Compost Bin Infested with SHB

Hello All,

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!

Are you sure they are hive beetles? I ask because there are other small black beetles that look like hive beetles.

Is there something in the compost bin that would attract hive beetles? If so that would account for the infestation.

In relation to the sealed plastic bags: You probably only need to put them in the hot sun for one day. That’s what works for me with buckets containing hive beetle larvae.

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That is a good thought. They love rotting fruit… :wink:

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How do you distinguish between SHB and other related beetles?

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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.

@Dawn_SD
@JeffH

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. :face_with_monocle:

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?! :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


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Those do look like SHB, clubbed antennae and color and all. Unsure how similar these are to other species in the genus/family. I’m not an entomologist…

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.

Are you talking about tea or leachate? What do you this of this?

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.

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:joy: Jeff, you are a champion!

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Thank you everyone for your helpful replies! I think all my questions are answered.

I’ll avoid adding anything fruit-related to any future compost, and continue to keep a watchful eye for SHBs! :slightly_smiling_face:

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