Small Hive Beetle Prevention

Hello, inspected my hive today and I found a few dead baby bees out the front.

When looking in the hive (around 5 of 8 frames drawn and in use) I noticed 5-10ish SHB. I ffinished the inspection. I have a beetle trap, would it be wise to put it in today (even though I’ve inspected already) or in a couple more days to see what happens?


I have made some cd case traps to put them in the hive, is tomorrow morning (around 18ish hours from last open) too soon or should I wait a bit? I would like to get rid of them asap but I do not want to over inspect

Hi Tom, it wouldn’t hurt to put them in, in the morning. If you see 5-10 beetles, there’s bound to be a lot more that you didn’t see. They hide in nooks & crannies, chased there by worker bees.

Will slap them in the morning, since it is my weak hive, they’ll need all the help they can get

Thanks Jeff :slight_smile:

Got some old CD cases and I had a syringe of topbait plus, so will put them together and I hope it works

Good morning Tom. You probably should put more emphasis on preventing them from laying eggs inside the hive than catching them.

I see lots of beetles in hives. Some hives more than others. I squash the ones I can, & I don’t worry about the ones I can’t, as long as I keep my strategies in place, which I previously outlined on a different thread, as well as every other hive beetle topic.

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Hello Jeff,
Inspected this morning and this is what I found:

-I found lots of dead babies out the front this morning

-1 frame and some small tearing in the comb, on said frame it seemed the bees were opening the baby frames and pushing them out. There weren’t too many capped brood as it seemed to be the latest comb beeing drawn

-In the bottom corners of the hive at the back there were small clups of beetles, around 15 ish, maybe around 30-40 in total on both sides. I used my finger to squish them all and sat for around 5 minutes crushings ones I saw, I then scraped the areas clean with my tool and got a lot of debris out to aid the bees.

-I put a CD case with beetle gel/bait/poison to hopefully aid the bees in fighting them.

-This hive has been growing a bit slow, as it was the one with the collapsed frames that I had to replace

I don’t know much else I can do at this point other than to wait, I got a majority of what I could see but like you said they are elusive little buggers.

If you have any more ideas on what else I can do it will be welcome. That being said I have hopefully going to move my bigger, stronger hive next to this one to make a little bee yard,

so maybe I can give some brood frames from my stronger hive to my weaker one?

I just want to watch out since we are going to have to prepare them both for winter in the coming months.

Thoughts? Thanks mate

Hi Tom, that tearing in the comb sounds like beetle damage & is probably where the dead babies came from. The bees are cleaning it up.

In preference to adding a frame of brood (which would be a challenge for the bees to stop beetles from laying in), I would add a lot of nurse bees. Then after a few days, after the nurse bees have matured & the population looks stronger, add the frame of brood.

I’m always cautious when adding brood to a weak colony. I always ask myself if there’s enough bees to stop beetles from laying eggs in that extra frame of brood. If I have doubts, I’ll add nurse bees first. Then I’ll try to find a brood frame with a lot of emerging bees, which will boost the population in the near future, while doubting if newly emerged bees defend well. It’s always a delicate situation until the nurse bees mature & turn into defenders.

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Yeah it was small sections of tearing, and only on one frame it seems. That being said I saw a few more babies being taken out of another frame as well.

Worried about these girls!

I’m going to try and establish the stronger hive next to this hive tomorrow, got to set up the stands and take them over, hopefully be able to give them some nurse bees on Sunday.

Hopefully they can survive, I can expect to see a few dead babies being pushed out over the next few days. I did put a big dent by killing as many beetles as I could, but there are bound to be more eggs and ones hiding etc.

Anything else I should keep in mind or any good place to get more info?

I think the best advice I can give is to give the colony a boost in population via a lot of nurse bees. That’s probably more important than establishing the other hive close by

Having said that: If you did move the stronger hive to near the weak hive, depending on how far away the strong hive is, you can move the weak hive to where the strong hive used to be. That way the foraging bees from the strong hive will enter the weak hive. So basically you are swapping the hive’s positions. I’ve done a lot of this kind of thing.

If there is a good distance between the hives, the bees from the strong hive will stay in the weak hive. If the distance is short, I have found that somehow the bees get lured back to the strong hive, leaving the weak hive still weak.

What I have done in the past is swap the positions for maybe an afternoon & the following morning, before closing the stronger hive up to take well away That way I regulate how many bees leave the strong hive, before it gets too weak. Therefore I’ve boosted the weak hive sufficiently, without over weakening the strong hive.

Good to know. Had a look at the hive again and I haven’t seen any more dead babies yet. Will see wwhat happens, they may overcome them yet. Was planning on moving the strong Hive close tomorrow night to make a bee yard (as both hives are on opposite ends of the property).

I have a spare hive box, so maybe would an option be to just take some bees from the strong hive over to the weak hive during the day in the box? Would that even work?

My strong hive is getting a bit full and have strong brood so it could be like a pseudo-split.

I can hold off making the beeyard until the weak hive gets stronger. Though it would be easier to transport the bees if the hives were close, but since you brought up the possiblity of drifting I might hold off.

Thoughts? Thanks so far Jeff you’re always a legend

Thank you Tom.

If you’re going to unite “bees” to a weak colony, you need to use the newspaper method. Uniting “nurse bees” is a much simpler method because nurse bees will be readily accepted, without any fighting. You could certainly take the frames containing nurse bees in a box from the strong hive back to the weak hive. All you do is shake all the bees onto a sheet or towel on the ground. Straight away the older bees will take flight before returning to the other hive. The nurse bees will remain on the ground before they form a group. After the older bees have taken off, all you do then is place the weak hive’s entrance next to the nurse bees. The nurse bees will march straight in, unchallenged, which is always pretty to watch. The beauty of nurse bees is the fact that they have the bulk of their working life ahead of them, a great asset to a struggling colony. Any that have previously done orientation flights will return to the other hive, after fueling up. To compensate for this, shake a lot of bees, maybe at least 3 frames worth (minus the queen of course).

If your weak hive has legs like a Flow2, you can erect a board that lines up with the entrance. I find a 10 frame flat roof a suitable area to shake bees onto.

Interesting, I’ve never heard of this before.

Would it be possible to wrap them up in a towl lightly and take them over the the weak hive? It currently sits on a table so I could lie it flat.

I have checked this afternoon and found no baby bees, around 10 hours since I checked this morning and found many. Which may be a good sign that they’ve cleaned most of the ‘dead’ out.

I only learned about this strategy recently myself. I love it. It works really well if you do it just prior to moving a hive away. That way no bees get a chance to return to the parent hive, which happened to me recently, maybe because the 2 hives were really close together.

I’m sure what you’re proposing will work fine. The main thing is that you understand the principles of what you’re doing.

Another thing that can be done is to leave brood frames covered in bees out of the hive for about 10-15 minutes, long enough for the older bees to return back to their hive, leaving the brood frame covered in nurse bees only. Then you can add that brood frame, covered in bees to the weak hive. I think @Semaphore uses that strategy.

They’re all good strategies, especially if we’re successful in saving a weak colony without doing too much harm to the strong colony.

It actually seems great, like I said the strong hive are getting a tiny bit full so it will be good for both hives. Will most likely do this on Sunday then give them both a rest.

I just have to be careful not to drop the queen out, my queen-spotting isn’t up to snuff.

Beekeeping is amazing, so many different ways to do it, it’s crazy.

Thanks Jeff, will most likely keep the thread updated. Also if you remeber I was having issues with my bees going into the Flow Super, well they are now so horray!

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Just as an update, I did say I was going to do the nurse transfer today but some stuff has come up. I think I may push it to Tuesday. I have been checking the week hive almost hourly to check on them, and I still have not found any dead bees, so hopefully it means I have quelled the beetles for the moment. They should be fine for the neext couple of days before I check them in a few days

I had to do something similar myself today. I found one nuc very weak, with no queen for some reason, one frame with some older brood containing some chalk brood. The nuc next to it was quite strong with a queen*. What I did was grab a frame of BIAS with bees from the strong nuc, before shaking the bees onto a roof adjacent to the weak hive entrance. Then I swapped the frame with BIAS with the frame with older brood. I wasn’t happy with that, so I shook 3 more frames of brood onto the lid from a different strong colony (minus the queen of course). By the time I left, there was a large beard of bees at the entrance. They’ll all go in tonight, however I expect a lot will return to their original hive tomorrow, leaving the nurses behind.

*The queen in the strong nuc came from a 2 queen colony after a clients hive split.
I split a clients colony with a strong split, before bringing it back to my apiary, with the view of making 2 splits with new queens, using the client’s queen’s progeny. While doing the split after enough time for queen cells to develop, I found the queen. So I isolated her & made 2 more splits after the queen cells got developed.

With a degree of urgency, I took the 2 new queen rite nucs back to the clients yard. The urgency was to make sure the remaining hive made a new queen, & if not, do something before a laying worker developed… However, surprise, surprise, there was multiple frames of sealed & emerging bees, after nowhere near enough time for that to happen with an emergency queen. The only possibility was a 2 queen hive at the beginning. I don’t know if it’s an old queen with a young supersedure queen, or what. It’s a first for me.

So I checked the hive today and they seem to be fine, only saw one mite. They seem less ‘antsy’ then last time. No more dead babies or torn comb.

The brood was layed patchy, but there was still larva and eggs.

But I did spot two queen cells. I did not see them last time. One was smaller, and one looked like it was slightly torn a bit. It’s strange since:

  1. Minimal to no drones
  2. I gave them 3 fresh combs in the past 3 weeks
  3. Queen was still laying
  4. Half the frames were still being drawn

So I do not know if they have swarmed, but I could not see any other evidence other than the QC.

I do not know what happened.

At least the beetles are quelled.


Hi Tom, I wont reply on the other thread, I’ll deal with it on this one. I think rather than split the strong hive, if it was me, I’d use resources from the strong hive to bolster this one, which will save you buying another brood box, plus it will suffice as a swarm prevention strategy.

I’d like to see photos of the QCs, because they could be queen cells colonies build when they’re queenless, which are not viable. The eggs & larvae could be from a laying worker.

In relation to the other colony being a bit cranky: It could be a number of things. I’ll just state the obvious, which you probably already do. Work from the back of the hive, use plenty of smoke before & during the inspection. Keep all of your movements slow & calm, & don’t be frightened to use more smoke when the bees start to look agitated.

I did put 2 fresh frames in the small hive last week, would swapping them with two brood combs from the big hive be helpful? I think even 3 new frames, so I could give the small hive 3.

As well as what I saw, they look like queen cups when I look up some images.

I think the big hive was just having a cranky day. They weren’t swarming me, just more agitated than usual.

Just getting worried it’ll swarm a 2nd time this Spring/Summer, since there is heaps of bees I sometimes can’t see the top of the frames!

Thanks Jeff

Adding to this:
I’ve done a bit more research in my various options and I think you are right, if I take 3 frames of brood and replace them with some new ones should give them more space. Moving the 3 frames to the weaker hive of course.
I didn’t do in todays inspections since I was busy with work.

Would or should I try and fix them up tomorrow? I still fear I may over inspect.

As well as the frames, should I give the weaker hive some nurse bees? The only issue is that locating the queen in the bigger hive proves difficult due to the high population. The there seem to be plenty of bees in the weak hive, just the issue of the myterious QC, that’s all. The nurse bees may not be needed.