Small hive beetle flow hive 2

Hi all!
Questions - is oil in the pest control tray enough to disrupt the life cycle of the small hive beetle (ie stop larvae falling out the bottom to go burrow) or should I look at undertaking more measures?

Am establishing my first colony, 4 frames are full with bees, 1 1/2 full with around 5-6 beetles , 2 empty.

Have chickens was considering combining the two as apparently chickens eat the grubs. Obvs. Not necessary if the oil disrupts the cycle.

Another thing, anyone had success feeding bees in autumn to increase production?

Thanks so much for your assistance!

Hi Rebekah,
Welcome to the forum, you should get all the answers you need here. I am not too far away from you up at Lindfield near Middle Harbour. I am a member of the North Shore Beekeepers and Northern Beaches Branch of the ABA (not sure if you are a member of these) they are an excellent club with regular talks, courses and field days.

I can probably help with the Small Hive Beetle issue. I recommend oil in the tray and replace it weekly to prevent it going rancid on you, especially after heavy rain. Another alternative is Diathomaceous Earth which also needs to be replaced regularly. I also use a folded chux cloth on top of the super on a mat (as the bees like to try and pull it down between the frames to get it out of the hive. For 5-6 beetles you don’t have a major issue there but do squish as many as you can, especially while your colony is young.

I also have chickens but no longer recommend allowing them near the hives after losing 2 of them to bee stings. Oil in your tray will do the trick with the majority of the grubs falling through the screen.

Autumn in Sydney is when the melaleuca’s and banksia’s come into flower, winter is scribblygum and stringybark if there are street plantings near you. I find the Sydney based colonies don’t require any feeding and if you do feed then chances are it will end up in your honey and you’ll miss all the benefits as the bees won’t need to collect from the trees. Just give them time to build, you’ll be surprised how quickly this occurs if you have a productive worker colony and queen.


Hi Rebekah,

Rodderick has well covered the small hive beetle management so I won’t add to that.

It’s worth also noting that SHBs are highly opportunistic and tend to target a colony that has become weak for other reasons (they are almost always a secondary pest) - so it’s worth looking at what else might be going on in your hive - be alert to the potential presence of others pests or diseases, consider whether there has been a nectar dearth in the area, etc.

Good luck, and please yell out if you need any further assistance.

Thank you so much Roderick, have just joined northern beaches bee keepers thanks for the tip


FYI - @Rodderick just had a thing come up on FB today about a hazard reduction burn on the Lindfield side of the valley this Saturday.

Also spotted my first drone of the season today, albeit dead in front of one of my hives, maybe be got chucked out because of the cold snap last night…

Hi @Stevo, I saw that too… and it surrounds my hives, fortunately they are spread across multiple houses. Not sure why they have picked a 25-26C day, this week would have been better. I also note that a lot of birds are nesting at this time in the hollows of the angophora’s, these burns will probably wipe out a number of these… very sad.
I am doing my swarm prevention this weekend, I completed my home hives two weeks ago and saw lots of drones and drone brood on the way, hopefully the extra smoke in the air won’t impact them.

Hopefully as it is a controlled burn it wont be as intense as the firestorms and the canopy won’t be destroyed, I think they mainly try to keep it on the ground where the fuel is.

I inspected my hives today, lots of healthy capped & uncapped brood, eggs, nectar/pollen, a few drone cells but not a single queen cell in either hive that I could see, I even shook most frames off to check for AFB etc.

Quite a few beetles running around but I think they have been overwintering in there as I haven’t seen any flying in as yet, just put out some hanging traps today, not sure how effective they are…

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They are simply brilliant mate, I have them hanging as a perimeter around the outside of my hives like as in a fort wall. Since then the beetles getting into my hives would be less than 20% of what I used to have, I only see the odd one in the hives and the traps in the hives has very few SHB. It is nothing to average more than 30 in the traps outside the hives each week.
SHB is by far the biggest issue up here.

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Are you using the honey/sugar/yeast mixture and how often do you refresh it?

I started doing it last year but only really caught tiny flys but very few beetles.

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Do a search on You Tube for Phil Bowman from Stradbroke Island, a commercial bee keeper who worked with the Sunshine Coast Uni here to perfect the trap which they have adapted for SHB. Mix as he advises on the video and you will get the results. He explains it all and easy to follow. The traps I found in Bunnings and is what they call a fly trap, it is the attractant that Phil uses that gets the SHB. and after almost a year using them I have not had a bee in them…

Thanks so much for the tip! Straight to the hardware store.

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Did you have any trouble finding the video on You Tube?

Found it fine with a web search through an abc article :slight_smile:

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The vented bottom that came with the flow Hive 2 years ago (grate with a core flute that slides in and out) we found was a great breeding ground for beetles and moths. Problem is that the pests can escape the bees by going thru the gate and reproduce in private. When we used that base board we had beetles and moths.

After we got a beetletra base board there have been pretty much no beetles and absolutely no moths. That base has been under the hive for 6 months and is as spotless as the day we installed it.
If there are nooks and crannies the bees can’t access, that’s where the pest go to hide and reproduce.
If you have one of those boards, get rid of it!


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Hi Ron,
So good you’ve found success in beetle control! I’m guessing you have the classic flow hive not the flow 2? We have the flow 2 with oil in the bottom tray and it catches a fair bit but not all

That’s right, I have the classic.

Hi all, unfortunately, I’ve found a bunch of SHB larvae in the tray under my Flow Hive 2 when I checked the tray a few days ago. As a first-year beekeeper who is already battling mites and recently had to replace a dead queen, this is freaking me out a bit!

I already have some diatomaceous earth, so I was thinking of using that in the tray as @Rodderick suggested above, but I’m wondering exactly how to go about it. Is it dangerous to just sprinkle a layer into the tray, as it might blow around on a windy day and kill my bees? I could get some construction paper and put a layer of glue and then spread the diatomaceous earth on it and shake off the excess, which is similar to this technique described here.

Has anyone here tried using diatomaceous earth to control SHB in the hive, and can suggest a good technique?

Any thoughts on whether diatomaceous earth would be more effective than putting oil in the tray (the Flow Hive 2 tray seems well designed for this, with pretty high walls on the tray).

If oil is a better approach, how deep a layer of oil should I use? Or should I get some of the SHB oil traps and just set them into the tray?



You shouldn’t put them into the tray if you do get them. They should be between two frames, preferably at the top of the brood nest.

I don’t have a tray in my hive, and I don’t use diatomaceous earth, so I can’t answer your other questions. :blush:

Hi Nick,

We also have a small amount of SHB in our hive (usually under 10 beetles spotted, a fair few in the oil tray) it’s good you found it in the tray, means the bees are doing their job well. We fill the oil tray right up. A strong hive with frames well covered with bees and the oil tray is enough for us to keep them in check.

All the best with it!

Diatomaceous earth won’t blow out of the tray as the wind won’t be strong enough over the tray. Any cooking oil in the tray that is deep enough to drown a SHB will do the job but it will need replacing every week or two before it goes rancid. I use the traps that you put about 1/4" of cooking oil in and fit one to each side of each box between the outer frame and the 2nd frame in. I fit them to each box, brood and super, SHB are a big issue for me, especially in warm and humid weather.
Cheers Nick