Tagged: SHB Infestation
Red Alert, SOS, May Day, if I had the “Bat” Light I’d get Chief O’Hare and Commissioner Gordon to shine it for help. Small hive beetles have destroyed my bee yard in Wildwood. Three of four hives are gone. At this rate, I’ll be out of hives by next week.
A pattern has developed. That is, upon checking the hives, all had several frames of brood, good weight for the time of year and plenty of bees. Then seven to eight days latter, the bees are all but gone, the hives are picked clean and all that is left is a stinking glob of SHB larva and goo. The first two hives were side by side and were wiped out in eight days.
I pulled the two honey supers off the second pair only last week. All appeared well. Plenty of brood and bees with fair to good weight. I did note cluster of beetles at the top of the hives that broke free and scurried every which way. I crushed over thirty on one hive. I emptied the beetle traps and refilled. One hive was lightly weaker than the other so I add feeders to both and install an entrance reducer in the weaker hive to discourage robbing. I also added mite treatment.
Upon approaching my primo number one hive, one that had produced five supers, I immediately noticed the stench of hive beetles. I did a weight check and of course it was near empty. There were hive beetle larva in all frames that had previous been full on honey. I tore the hive apart and tossed the most disgusting frames on the burn pile.
Oddly, the weaker hive was now very heavy. The two beetle traps had a dozen or so beetles. I did not notice an over abundance of beetles. Obviously, the weaker hive robbed what was left of its neighbor. But, why was it not overrun with beetles yet?
Here is my theory:
One hive in the first pair had been limping along earlier in the year. (Re-queened with a club queen that never thrived.) However, I had re-queened it again and it had been on the uptick and even produced one good medium super. I believe this hive succumbed to beetle first and served as beetle reservoir or bomb for its neighboring hive.
In turn, those two hives served as beetle farms for the next hive pair. However, placing the entrance reducer in the one hive slowed the onslaught of small hive beetles. I say “slowed” for I think it is doomed.
In all cases, the bees has successfully corralled the beetles but when I open the hive, the beetles were able to escape. This allowed them to go on egg laying sprees and then ultimately overcome the hive driving the bees to absconding.
In a hopeless attempt to try to save the last hive, I am going to add a Chick-mite corrugated cardboard mite trap to the hive. I’m also going to soak the area around the hive and former hive sites with ample doses of Sevin solution. I hate to use chemicals, but this is war.
Lastly, why are SHB so bad this year? What could I have done differently? (Please spare me the “strong hive” suggestion.)
I have been doing bee keeping for over 8 years, I have never cared about the small amount of beetles, but this year they are out of control. It was not weak hives, I still have some with no beetle problems. But I lost over 7 hives and they had lots of honey and bees but loads of beetles. In the last week I tried something I saw on Utube. Sheets are cut into strips and put in the hive that have felt material. The bees chew on them and the hive beetles with hooked legs get snagged in them. Any non-fragrant felt will work, I used a plastic picnic sheet with felt. You can buy sheets from places that sell medication. The first night I caught 50 beetles. Each day is getting less. I have hope this will continue to work.
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