Small Hive Beetle

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Rick O.:
I popped the lid on one of my hives yesterday and found something I've never encountered before - SHB.  There were only about five of them but it was enough to send a red flag up in my mind.  The hive seems strong; great brood pattern and a great deal of honey stores (most of which they're in the process of capping).  My hives smell pungent, but nothing out of the ordinary given that we're in a honey flow (goldenrod).

I've been keeping bees now for the better part of seven years and this is my first encounter with SHB.  Should I be concerned at this point?  I am absolutely against putting anything foreign into my hives (i.e. no chemicals).  Is there a natural way of dealing with this?

There are several trap methods.  I have found the bottom oil trays to be the most effective.  Is it foreign?  Well, yes.  Is it in the hive?  technically it is under a screened bottom board.  I have also read that screened inner covers and effective use of the hive tool remove many also.

Michael Bush:
I've you've been in hives in areas that have significant small hive beetle populations you'll see hundreds of small hive beetles and the bees are handling it fine.  Five is nothing.

I'm in year three and have been dealing with them since day one.  Like Michael said five is nothing.  That's one of the many uses of your hive tool.  As long as the hive is strong they can handle many more than five.  I have screen bottom boards with oil pans.  They help.  I typically see some almost  every time I open my hives.  As long as your hive is strong, the bees will corral them in the corner and keep them in check.  I did have a weak nuc get overrun by them this year.  It wasn't a pretty sight.  Just keep your hives strong.

Like everyone is saying, 5 is nothing. I checked my oil trays this evening. Some hives had none, some had few, one had about 300. I am not using oil this year. I use a 4" wide plastic scraper and kill them by flattening them by dragging it over them. I also killed a lot of carpenter ants and their eggs. They like the screen top boards. The 4" scraper also works best to take them out.


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