I have been fighting SHB (small hive beetle) all summer. Now that my honey harvest is over, I am reflecting on how the FLOW frames and hive architecture/construction harbor SHB and make it difficult for the bees (and me). I’ll list my problems/observations and suggest three solutions.
- Once the FLOW super was put in place, I noticed that the bees corralled the SHB in empty cells. I doubt any nectar/honey gets stored in those cells as long as the SHB survive. After honey harvest the bees kept SHB corralled in the open cells. Any control is hampered by the available open space that the SHB take advantage of. A good trap (see #2 below) is needed for season-long SHB control.
- SHB are dimorphic; i.e., the males are smaller than the females. Small SHB might fall through the screened bottom board, but the small screen opening only allows immatures and males to fall through, not females. Increasing the screen size opening (#7) allows both sexes to fall through. A SHB trap of some design could be incorporated into the bottom board design.
- The gabled hive cover has many nooks and crannies where SHB can escape the bees. The roof looks great, but does more for SHB than the bees. Caulking or sealant might solve the harboring, but a simpler design might be in order.