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Small Hive Beetle - SHB Aethina Tumida


Thank Dee- proceeding with caution. I won’t be doing anything until I get my head around all the information David


Yes I have the same experience. It took me a while to figure it all out. I don’t use any traps whatsoever. The tricks I find is to keep the worker population strong. Eliminate large areas of drone comb out of the brood. Keep the hives floor clean. Try not to squash bees when returning frames into the hive. Lastly make sure there’s nowhere outside of the hive the beetles can breed up in, such as unused/discarded frames containing brood or pollen, also uncovered slumgum.

-Edit- PS. Another important thing to remember is: Make sure there is a generous covering of worker bees to protect any frames containing brood or pollen inside the hive. The beetles wont lay eggs on empty frames, fresh foundation or empty drawn comb.


Yes, absolutely, keeping things clean is half of the battle.


I’ve not used it in a hive, but others have said to use it on the bottom board under the screen so that the bees do not have direct access to it. Others have cautioned that wind could carry it around and not to use it because it could hurt bees and still others have maintained that fanning could stir it up. Yet others have had no problems. Perhaps it’s also the luck of the draw. You can find discussions on other bee forums about this topic.


I recently started using Cedar’s method using upside down fleece table cloth on the corflute board - in 24 hours it caught 35 beetles and some larvae. Is there anything that can be used to treat the soil around the hive safely to kill incubating larvae?


Hi Gillian, I think you can use chemical pesticides to treat the soil around the hive but I don’t use any. The trick is to prevent the beetles from breeding inside the hive in the first place. That is quite easy, just keep a strong worker population in the hive & the bees will do the rest. I saw your post where you said you saw shb larvae on the upside down tablecloth. That could have been wax moth larvae that is feeding on the hive debris on the sbb. If you think it’s shb larvae, have a smell of the area, especially the sbb. Shb larvae exude a foul smell. If it gets to the point of shb larvae in the hive, there will be a foul smell wafting up through the frames.

Like I said in an earlier post, I don’t use any traps at all. I squash them on sight, but that’s all.


Thanks Jeff – excellent advice!


You’re welcome. I hope you can put it to good use.


Hi Jeff,

My hive has been going really well and I have been doing the daily visit to kill off any small hive beetles that I can find. There are a few spots around the flow hive that allow the small hive beetle to hide and the bees have dedicated a small workforce to try and trap the beetles in these areas (i.e. small gaps around the sides of the front entrance and also around the observation window).

When I opened up the hive on the weekend to check how things were going I saw a lot more SHB activity than in the past so even though the hive is very strong, the conditions have been perfect for SHB. I placed an Apithor trap on the coreflute board (now in the lower slot) and I have been removing between 20-50 SHB each evening off the board. Hopefully it is slowing down a bit now - next plan is to grab some silicon and gum up some of those cracks, assuming that silicon isn’t toxic to bees.

The flow hive super is very heavy with honey and the bees have started capping so looking forward to my first harvest over the next month :slight_smile:


I sat down at my hive on dusk for about an hour and half and killed over hundred that were just flying around the hive trying to get in. This was about 4 to months ago in the blue mountains.


Well done Paul, they must be breeding up big time down your way. I wouldn’t bother with the silicone gun. Once the beetles hide in a crack, the bees propolise them in. There are plenty of hiding places in my hives but I don’t worry about them.

20-50 each day is a fair few, I’ve never seen them that bad. Hopefully it’s a one off event. Someone’s hive near you might have got slymed out & bred up quite a few.

Good luck with your honey harvest, cheers


Keep in mind when controlling SHB that they are NOT an obligate parasite of honey bees. They can live and reproduce in rotting fruit. So the soil around your hives is not the only source for SHB reproducing.


My son raises mealworms to feed his lizards. He uses apples and pears cut in half to feed the worms. If he doesn’t clear out the worms periodically, they turn into beetles.


So it’s your son’s fault! :slight_smile:


It has taken a week but the hive beetles seem to be back under control. Just picking up a few dead or dying beetles around the trap each evening.


Has anyone here used specific types of nematodes to treat the soil around their hives? I’ve read several articles and it makes sense as another step in population control. They don’t seem to be a problem in my area though ( only 1 in my last 3 inspections) but curious as to others using.


Treating around the hives?
Is that enough?
I think when they found SHB in Italy they dressed the ground far wider


I believe they mean in addition to other preventative options. The nematodes will kill any beetles in the juvenile stage in the soil. It won’t prevent adults from flying in, but should greatly reduce numbers for those dealing with high beetle counts. Since I’ve been using the brushy MTN float feeder that I customized, it’s rare that I see any beetles


Hi JeffH
What do you mean by cut out the comb? I have wax foundation and i know there will be beetles inside when I open up hopefully tomorrow.


Hi Ken, what I mean is to cut the damaged comb as well as large areas of drone comb out. If that means that the frame no longer has a high %age of worker comb in it, I’d cut the whole lot out & fit a new sheet of foundation in. Don’t worry if you find beetles. They are everywhere around here. Just remember what I said on that other thread & you’ll be right.

If you get the opportunity to squash them, do so. That’s what I do. Sometimes I’ll spend a bit more time on a hive squashing beetles, if they are bad enough. I did a bit of that this morning.