SHB concerns from a newbie

Hi again all, Im very new to beekeeping. I am very concerned about the number of SHBs Ive found in the oil in my bottom board.

Twice when I have opened the side window on the flow framas Ive seen them scurrying around (chased by my beautiful bees) but I only changed the oil yesterday and was astonished to find about 60 dead ones in the oil in just 24 hours.

How do I control these hideous pests and how can I prevent the chance for them to become a potential problem again in the future? my bees are in a bush setting at the rear of my house on a cement foundation.

I would to know where I should be safely disposing of that old oil - and whether I should be treating the area around the hive with a vinegar salt spray to kill them off?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance

A hive that is low in bee numbers is very vulnerable to SHB infestation. I use a watering can with a mix of vinegar, table salt and water to soak the soil under and around my hives and I am sure that doing that has been a big help.
In a hive low in bee number, like after a split, I fit the plastic traps that sit between the brood frames. Make the effort to remove any dead bees from the hive as SHB will lay eggs in the bodies of squashed or dead bees.
Normally in a strong hive the bees will control SHB and you will never be free of them in a hive, but from your numbers I would be looking for something extra to beet them. The numbers seem to reduce in the cooler/drier months but they can explode in numbers very fast.

Thanks Peter, my bee population is thriving. However, I know the risks these pests bring and I don’t want that to change. I have ordered some of those beetle traps to place in my brood frames. Do they pose any risk or damage to the bees? I read something about mould in them - I assume people put a small amount of water in them.

What ratios of salt:vinegar:water fo you use? I will start treating around the hive area as well. The base is on a big sandstone slab, so not grass where they can easily hide.

The SHB beetle traps are not a threat to the bees, a bee can’t fall through the slots into the cooking oil and drown. Use canola or any cheap cooking oil to about 1/2 the height of the trap. Don’t use water as it will evaporate out of the trap so it won’t work. I have used those traps for many years and even in the hot and wet weather up here I haven’t seen mold in the traps but it does happen in the hive roof sometimes if there is not enough ventilation.
2/3 cup of white vinegar, 1/2 cup of table salt mixed in a watering can of water and well wetting around the hive works for me. It also stops weed growth about the hive. I also have these traps set up in the hive area, sold at Bunnings as a fruit fly trap, and there is a You Tube video by a guy in Brisbane that tells all about how to use them, I get more SHB in those traps than get into the hives.

This is the link to the video Chris.

I’ve bought these traps from Bunnings this morning. It says 20 metres from the hive??? Is there any risk to the bees if I place them closer to the hive?

Place them as far away from the hives as you can Chris, sort of as a fort wall with your hives in the fort, as in a perimeter defense, the fence around your property. I set mine up where it was suitable with something to hang them off and I have never measured the distance, but I suspect they are less than that, maybe 13/15 meters is close. I have never found dead bees in the traps but they are great with SHB. Best in warm humid weather with no wind to get a big count.

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My hive doesn’t have a lot of space to the right of it, between our neighbours and our property. See pic. Am I correct in assuming there should be 4? One at each side?

If you are asking about the distance from your hive to your boundary fence it depends on your local council regulations so to get the answer I would ask them.

No, Im asking how far the trap to the right needs to be given that 15 metres away would be on our neighbours property not.ours. I could hand it about 5 metres away from the hive on the right - but that is as far as I could go while staying on our property.

5 metres might be too close Chris, it might be a better option to not have a trap along the fence line just in case the bees want to check out the traps, but I simply don’t know what would happen with them that close to your hive.

Thanks Peter, I might give that side a miss and protect the side and rear instead. Is it best to avoid anything in front of the hive?

I have my traps set up all around my hives as my closest fence is 30 metres away. So I agree with you about the neighbors fence.
The bee will fly from the hive in whatever direction that they know where they want to forage. they will even fly vertically straight after leaving the hive entrance to clear an obstacle like the side of a car garage.

Great. I will set them up as far away as I can also. In the interim, I have hit the ground under and around the hive with the salt vinegar water mix. I will do a proper inspection on the weekend as to not disturb the hive too much.

Should the dead beetles in oil be dumped somewhere specific? I empty them about 10 metres away from the hive in the bush.

I do the same Chris, and the weeds still grow there so I can’t see oil doing any harm to the soil, and the SHB will be well and truly dead…:grinning::grinning:

I’m not worried about the soil, but the dead SHBs potentially attracting other SHBs

Dead SHB from what I have experienced doesn’t attract the live ones so I wouldn’t worry about it Chris.

Hi Christina, it’s the beehive that will attract beetles. Or the contents of the beehive to be exact. If we work our bees properly, there’s no need to worry about hive beetles becoming a problem.

A couple of simple rules to follow:
#1Don’t leave squashed bees trapped between combs.
#2Eliminate any large areas of drone comb below the QX.
#3Don’t let water pool on the floor.
#4Don’t have any frames in the hive containing brood or pollen that doesn’t have a good covering of worker bees on them.
#5 deals with the outside of the hive. Don’t leave anything laying around such as slumgum or frames containing brood or pollen that beetles can lay eggs in.

I haven’t mentioned flow frames. Harvest flow frames away from the hive.


Thank you for that great response Jeff.

What is “slumgum”

And how on earth do you harvest a flow hive away from the hive given it is half the hive?

Slumgum is the residue left over in reclaiming or rendering down honey comb, Jeff buries it in his veggie garden as a fertilizer. It is the waste left over in brood frames.
I’ve tried to master extracting a flow frame out of the hive after my early mistakes but I have ended up with a mess and a fail trying to do it either way. So I spent each extraction getting better at doing it with the frame still in the hive. Taking it carefully and not trying to rush it is the secret to doing it well.
Half the secret in doing it well is to feel confident and take your time as well as correcting previously made mistakes, which we have all made.