A lady (a complete newbee) purchased a colony from me. I showed her the hive mats I used. Yesterday she came back to pick up her bees & showed me a piece of clear flexible plastic & asked me if I thought it would be ok. I said it would be, so she gave me that piece. Later on I thought how brilliant it will be because beetles hide under the mats. I’ll be able to see them & squash them with my hive tool before I remove the mats.
brilliant for you- and the bees- but maybe not so brilliant for those beetles
Thanks Jack, it’s so simple. I hope the beetles don’t scurry as soon as I remove the lid. The bees normally put propolis around them, so I should be right.
I’m going to take some to the two hives at my doctor’s place where I regularly find literally hundreds of beetles on every inspection. Most of them scurry before I get a chance to kill many.
PS @Semaphore Jack, we recently got home from exchanging the mats in those 2 hives. Wilma came to photograph the beetles I’m talking about. The photos don’t do it justice because the beetles scurry too fast. This first photo shows how I use a couple of smaller mats to trap some of the beetles.
This next photo shows the mat removed from the first hive.
This is the second hive.
I squashed a couple of beetles under the clear plastic before replacing the lid. It’ll be good to take a look in a couple of weeks after the bees have re-coralled them & placed propolis around them.
wow Jeff- I am so, so glad those damn beetles are not here in Adelaide yet (hopefully never but it seems inevitable that they will get here). Does that many set a hive back a lot? I imagine they must? It seems on average you have better conditions for bees and your hives are more productive- this year it has been a struggle to just to keep hives going here in adelaide- I wonder how much worse things might be if we had to contend with beetles?
That is an insane amount of beetles.
Hi Jack, if you did get beetles, I’d encourage you to not stress out about them. They are easy to live with as long as we put beetles at the forefront of every strategy we put into place. I don’t think that many beetles sets a hive back all that much. There’s probably a lot of bees occupied with making sure the beetles stay under the mat. Both of those hives were going gangbusters until a couple of weeks ago when we got hit with a cold snap.
I like the hive mats because it gives the bees a place they can chase beetles into. A bloke told me last week that he doesn’t like hive mats because beetles hide under them. I told Wilma he obviously hasn’t had comb built right up into the lid.
I think a lot of commercial beekeepers in SA use hive mats too. I like them- for keeping comb out of the roof- but mostly for keeping the brood snug and stopping moisture dripping onto the brood. The other day I looked into a single brrod hive and there was a littlle pool of water on top of the hive mat- even though the lid on the hive is ventilated. So they serve multiple functions.
I think a hive mat replicates a natural hive- where the bees can’t walk up to the top of a comb and over to the next one. I am sure it helps with insulating the brood and the bees efforts to maintain temps to their liking. I imagine it helps bees put brood higher to the top edges of the comb, and prevent honey at that edge candying. Plus they help minimise disturbance when inspecting.
14 days later we did a check. These 3 photos show how the bees coral the beetles to under the mat, then propolize them in. As soon as I lifted the lid, the light made a lot of beetles scurry, however I was able to squash a lot of beetles that couldn’t escape on account of propolis.
I’m pleased with how many beetles I was able to squash & will be shopping around for some clear plastic stationary folders.
Thanks for the tip, I found a piece at the Men’s Shed that was big enough to make three from it a week ago and replaced the vinyl mats, I had a look in the top of the supers and enjoyed squashing a few in each of the hives. Going to fit the clear plastic to the rest of the hives, a brilliant idea mate.
Thinking I might get them cheap at a nickle and dime shop.
Yeah I thought was a nice idea too. I have two ready to put into hives to run a trial this spring.
Hi Pete, I haven’t discarded the regular mats. I place them over the transparent mats. That way the beetles don’t scurry as soon as I remove the lid. Often I find beetles between the 2 mats which are easy to squash.
@JeffH, thanks for posting this, such a simple and effective idea… hope you don’t mind if I share this with some members of my club, we have beetle problem in the northern suburbs of Sydney and need to get on top of it before the weather warms up.
Hi Rod, for sure, no problems at all. Like other traps, they only catch a small %age of beetles.
My other strategies of keeping the worker population strong as well as other things I’ve mentioned in the past is the main key to stopping the beetles from laying any eggs.
We visited Miels d’Anicet in Canada, a tour organized by apimondia. They used clear hivemats on all their hives, including mating nucs.
Was thinking about this thread when I saw their apiaries.
They don’t have SHB by the way. They said it allows them to quickly assess the bees without peeling the mat off, especially on cold days.