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Mite spotting and Small Hive Beetles (SHB)

I have been told a good thing to do is use a drench on the ground under a hive
There has been much discussion here in the uk about using nematodes this way but the consensus is that the larvae crawl a long way before pupating so a lot of ground would have to be covered. I hear that SHB go with swarms as well. Uggghhhhh!!!

Yes, and they travel in packaged bees too. This may sound off-the-wall but it works. Encourage moles to live near your hives. They churn up the ground to get the SHB larvae. I was tired of hearing those solar mole deterrents my husband put out in the gardens. So I moved them all across the yard and the moles moved towards my hives. It was so unexpected. Once in awhile they visit, churn the soil, and go off somewhere else. I still have some SHB but not as much as in the past years. Hubby is going out of town…those mole deterrents just might “disappear”.

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Not sure I want moles digging up my garden/lawn - I have foxes and the occasional hedgehog, Teach the hedgies to eat the SHB!! LOL

We have the worst red clay soil that is rock hard in the summer. The moles get the air & plant debris down into the soil and their tunnels help drainage. They help me amend the soil too. It is the terrible mice that use the moles tunnels to get at the plant roots & bulbs.

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@US_Aussie The discussion just jumped from mites (Verroa) to Small Hive Beetles (SHBs). Brood breaks are a method of limiting Verroa.

Personally I have not found SHB traps to be that effective in my Top Bar Hives (others may have different experiences), the bees seem to be pretty good at keeping them under control and chasing them to the screened bottom boards, where I find them and squish them. Yet another reason I love my observation windows and screened bottom boards.

SHB apparently can smell honey, wax, pollen, etc. (all the good stuff) and are said to be able to fly for 5 miles. Direct sunlight and keeping hives closed (short, minimum inspections) help the bees, as will keeping the hive small so the bees don’t have to defend too much space. I’m not surprised they travel in packaged bees etc, as they survive winter in the cluster, too.

Such is life on a forum…and a good thing too :smile:
My apiary is in the corner of a field next to a pond. We have moles :smile:
You’re right about brood breaks re varroa. The hives that try to swarm and are ASd always have a lower varroa load, even if I don’t treat…which I don’t invariably

Hi, this is my take on drones, well first of all in the video Pbs Nova Tales From a Hive, they claim that a hive of tens of thousands has a hundred drones, well I don’t agree with that, I’ve been saying for a long time that a hive should have around 5% drone comb compared to worker comb. In a hive of 60k bees, that should be around 3k drones. A hive in the wild makes a lot more than that because each hive is interested in passing on it’s genes, so the more drones a hive makes, the more chances that hive has to pass on it’s genes. This is the reason why a worker will become a drone layer while a queenless hive is dying out. Even while a hive is dying out, it’s still trying to pass on it’s genes through the drones it can make via the laying worker. This was explained to me several years ago.

I wasn’t sure if I could identify I mite, scale really messes with me. Videos help me a lot. So I found one today on my bottom board. Class I went to said one test is placing your bottom board (lite coating of pam) leave in for 2 day. then count the mites. Divided by the number of days and if it equals 50 you need to treat.

here is a video of a mite showing scale and also zoomed in.

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You sure did! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: The ones I see seem mostly to be dead, even after a sugar roll test, when they must have been alive minutes before. Nice to see how a live one moves, thank you! :heart_eyes:

They can sure move fast even through powdered sugar. Yuck!

I did not use power sugar. Just a little bit of cooking oil. Just enough to keep them from moving to much.

Texas beekeeping Association teaches 3 ways to test.

  1. alcohol (6)
  2. powdered sugar roll (3)
  3. bottom board count (50)

If you find this (*) number of mites then you have issues/you should treat

I presume that is per 100 bees for tests 1 and 2? :confused: Per how many days for bottom board - 2 days?

For the sugar and alcohol tests, their levels are pretty aggressive for treating. Most sources seem to use a 10% mite load which would be 5% phoretic and assume the same 5% in brood. If that is per 100 bees, they are treating at only 6% colony mite load (3% phoretic) - pretty aggressive.

If you only spray lightly with Pam (or Vaseline coat lightly), you may have mites escaping, so be aware that your count may be artificially low.


My understanding is you should leave it in for 2 days and then count all the mites. then divide by 2 (number of days) to get the average per day. if it is 50 that is a problem.

I will be doing a sugar test next weekend as my second test.

I will be very interested to hear your results, @Martydallas. Good luck!

I sugar roll treat at 10 mites per 300 bees.
I’ve always been taught that bottom board monitoring required the inspection board in for 7 days but the critical level is dependant on time of year. I don’t use it as it’s unreliable. An accelerated bottom board count is better but if you’re throwing sugar about you might as well do a sugar roll

I found my bottom board had about 50 tiny things - smaller than those varroa (dark and moving very quickly, and not SHB either). I have already treated for varroa a while back and the bees are already filling up the honey super. There weren’t anywhere near that many a few weeks ago. Need I worry? I know it isn’t varroa so should I just leave the bees to it?

So, it is over 20 degrees C and my bees have finally started to occupy the flow super. I managed to get some macro shot of these mites on the bottom board - probably 30 of them or more. They were already treated for varroa when i got the nuc in March. I also treated them twice since then, just to be sure. Here is a photo and I need to know a) what mites they are b) what to do about it…please?!

a) Pollen mites
b) Absolutely nothing - they are harmless to bees. They just steal a bit of pollen, but bees usually have plenty to spare


Phew. Dawn, you are a star, thanks


I got tired of seeing them and added olive oil to the inspection tray. :laughing: 4days=1shb+22pollenmites

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