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Small Hive Beetles and wet weather

Does wet weather increase SHB numbers? Seems to be a sudden population explosion here. We have had lots of rain.

Hi Penny, wet humid weather is favorable conditions for hive beetles to breed up in, if given the chance. Obviously beetles have had a chance to breed up in a hive not far from you. Therefore it ways to maintain a rigid strategy so as to avoid them breeding in your own hive/s.

Hi Jeff,
I thought it must have been something to do with great conditions for hive beetles. I also have a neighbour who has recently acquired 2 hives. Gave them a heads up to the sudden influx of beetles so hopefully if they have a problem too they will deal with it.
I’ve never had so many beetles. Luckily I think I caught it just in time. I’ve placed disposable traps inside two of my hives as well as the pest trays that come with the flow hives. I have been monitoring numbers everyday since I discovered the problem. Hopefully it will get better soon!:woman_facepalming:

A bloke told me this afternoon that he uses D.E. in his slider (not a Flow). Apparently that kills a lot of beetles.

The other day I gave some advice to @Kiah on the topic “Cleaning up after a slime out”. It might be worth your while reading that.

cheers

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SHB clusters can be insane around here. Once I caught 40 in one evening making their way into my flow hive. It was neat watching the ladies pounce on the uninvited guests. They escorted them through the screened bottom board and into an oiled inspection tray. :crazy_face:

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A pest management tray works wonders for helping the colony stay on top of SHB numbers. Also keeping a tight colony i.e. no empty boxes (as per Jeff’s great advice) and ensuring the hive is away from moisture, such as lots of high weeds/bushes, overhanging trees, in a damp valley. If the hive’s location is a bit wet, dark and damp, consider relocating or cutting back tree branches etc. so allow more hours of direct sun on the hive.

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@JeffH have you seen this device?

It’s very wet here at the moment. Thanks so much for your help :grin:

Penny Grainger
bpgrainger@bigpond.com

Hi Fred, yes I saw it when it first appeared here on the forum. I’m seeing quite a few hive beetles myself at the moment. I had one hive to deal with today. I let the population get too weak, consequently the beetles did damage to what brood was left & the few remaining bees were trying to overwhelm them. The hive was next to 2 other queen-rite nucs, so what I did was use one of their brood frames with a different beetle free brood box, while relocating those nucs to quite a few meters away, so as to allow the returning bees from those hives to join the remaining bees in the new brood box. I decided to take the 2 nucs well away because I didn’t want too many bees to leave them. While preparing those nucs for their trip, quite a few bees left & went back to their old site to join the new colony. A quick inspection revealed a good amount of bees covering that frame of brood, plus a few more.

Now those 2 nucs are a bit safer (away from me) at my main bee site. I used the first hive as a resource hive & consequently I took too much resources from it just before a long spell of bad weather.

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We take beekeeping in WA for granted. If I had to contend with SHB… I think I’d be finding another hobby…

Wait until the mites arrive… :grimacing:

Hi Fred, honestly it’s not that bad. Beetles are easy to contend with. My other 70 odd hives, including nucs & splits were fine because they all had sufficient bees to be able to keep them under control. It’s only when bee numbers get drastically low that beetles are able to take over, like in my case yesterday. That’s apart from other issues such as: too much drone brood, major honey spills or squashed bees & or brood.

The other day I discovered 2 queenless nucs at a different bee yard with laying workers that were also drastically low in bee numbers that must have only been a day or two away from getting slimed. I quickly put strategies into place to resolve the laying workers, while boosting the numbers with fresh brood & bees.

Funnily enough, that resulted in me bringing two queen-rite nucs back to my place yesterday morning, so as to avoid too many bees exiting them, which would have left them vulnerable.

PS in conclusion: #1, it’s easy to avoid a colony bee numbers getting drastically low while we have more than one hive. #2 It’s easy to avoid too much drone brood. #3 It’s easy to avoid major honey spills. #4 It’s also easy to avoid squashing bees & or brood during inspections.

Another thing is to make sure that beetles can’t breed up in anything that we leave laying around outside of the hives.

All of these things are achievable, as long as we keep our eye on the ball.

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Someone made a profound statement the other day. A bloke was picking up some bees from me, I happened to mention that there’s been an increase in hive beetles since all this recent rain we’ve had. He replied, “everything does well after a lot of rain”. Then I thought “how true is that”

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Hi Jeff,
I have hit those little hive destroyers with everything I’ve got. Three other beekeepers within the area are also really copping it from the beetles.
I was getting very worrying numbers in the oil traps for the last 5 days. Between 50 and 150 in two of my hives.
Yesterday I had the day off so I got stuck into the hives. I’ve placed “fly traps“ around the place as well as full and thorough hive inspections, chux homemade traps inside the hives, the oil pest traps under the hives and chux stuffed into the entrances to reduce them by half.
This morning when I checked the pest trays only 5 beetles!
I really hope I’ve turned the corner. I will open the hives again next Thursday and see what’s happening inside!
Thank you for your help and advice.

Penny Grainger
bpgrainger@bigpond.com

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Hi Penny, well done on catching all those beetles. I’m seeing quite a few myself, some colonies more than others. All I do is squash the ones I’m able to & let the worker bees continue to chase the rest until they find somewhere to hide.

I just now, a few minutes ago shared my #1 tip with a bloke, & that is to keep all of the combs in the brood box at a very high percentage of worker comb. That way you get plenty of workers, that are defenders & a limited number of drones that do no defending in a hive.

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