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More Thoughts on the Small Hive Beetle

Walter Kelley Bees recently sent out their July newsletter (I recommend it) with a brief snippet on the small hive beetle (SHB). Now that I have had more time dealing with this pest, I am a bit more relaxed about it. They are definitely something to watch out for, but a strong, healthy hive deals with them just fine. Even my smaller hives are (so far) dealing with them effectively. Regardless, as an owner of livestock (or ‘pets’, if you look at them that way), I believe it is good stewardship to ease their way in any fashion that you can, provided that it does not inhibit or alter the natural way of things to any great degree.

As an example, I am quite confident that my honey bees could go find water on their own, without my assistance. But, I ease their labor by providing fresh water in my home beeyard, which they gladly use a lot. It’s not a huge savings, but instead of needing to fly a quarter of a mile away to a nearby, large creek (or a neighbor’s pool…), they can make the trip in under a hundred yards.

So, I am passing on this fairly easy tip that was in the Walter Kelley newsletter, which seems like a great way to ease your bee’s journey in this world. I have not tried it yet, but probably will before the Summer is out.

From the July issue of Walter Kelley Newsletter:

A home-made trap that is somewhat effective consists of a piece of corrugated “plastic cardboard” that is placed in the top of the hive, between the inner cover and frame top-bars. Some beekeepers use off-label chemicals in these traps, but the traps are also effective with no chemicals in them. If the material is cut into 1-inch wide strips with the corrugated tubes running cross-wise to the strip, then placed on the top bars of the hive, SHB will seek refuge from the bees by crawling into the tubes, where they will be trapped by the bees using propolis.

The reason there are adult SHB running around the top bars of a hive is because they have been released from their propolis “prisons” by removing the inner cover. This puts these adults back into play, so to speak, whereas they had been removed from the equation before their release. The bees imprison the adult SHB by trapping them between the inner cover and the top and building a propolis enclosure around them. By giving the SHB corrugated plastic in which they may hide – and be trapped – the SHB will not be released by removing the hive top.

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Hopefully, this little tidbit is of use to other beekeeper’s out there.

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