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Author Topic: Hive Beetles  (Read 1835 times)
Chris Smith
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« on: May 11, 2010, 06:52:02 AM »

I'm a new beekeeper this season and I've started three hives from nucs in new Langstroth deeps in a place that did not previously have hives. At my one week inspection I found that all three of my hives had small hive beetles. At week three I'm counting 15 or more SHB's in each hive and squashing as many as I can.
I have ordered AJ's beetle eaters, 2 for each hive and material to make Freeman type screened bottom board traps as soon as I can. I have a few questions I'm wondering if anyone can help me with:

1) I'm assuming the nucs came infested with SHB's. Should I be going back to my supplier about this or is it an unavoidable problem in the world of buying bees and especially nucs ?
2) Should I be taking any other action other than the trap plan above ? I would have purchased the traps and had them on hand from day one if I had known the bees might arrive with SHB's. Now I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the AJ traps.
3) I notice that the beetles hide in the bottom slot of the frames because it is much wider than the thickness of my wax foundation. They also hide where the slot continues under the side bars.
Would it be useful to shim the extra space in the slot and put wood filler in the part under the side bars to eliminate these hiding places ?

Thanks very much

- Chris
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BjornBee
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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2010, 07:11:26 AM »

You "assume" they came with SHB? They did, or they did not. Didn't you inspect the nucs at pickup and determine the health of the nucs by looking at the frames, brood, queen, disease, etc? Or the next day when placing them in a hive?

Since SHB can fly several miles a day, and could of come from any nearby hive, they could be coming from about anywhere. And if you are seeing an explosion in numbers within a week, they are not reproducing from your own hives or apiary. They are coming from an external source.

As for the rest of your questions, much would determine on your location. Apiaries in the north are far less a concern then compared to the south. Where are you from?
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Titus
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« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2010, 08:58:40 AM »

Same thing happened to my inlaws.  They had no hives, then got 3 nucs.  The nucs had SHB and some of them came with crappy plastic frames and foundation.   The plastic stuff wasn't even drawn out yet.  They paid good money for the nucs from a local big name supplier.  Now 2 of the nucs have no brood or eggs laid (after 3 weeks), I believe they are queenless.  Makes me glad I only got a package and not a nuc...
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Robo
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« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2010, 09:15:14 AM »

Makes me glad I only got a package and not a nuc...

Not to burst your bubble, but packages aren't the answer either. Although one could argue packages should have less SHBs,  it is not uncommon for SHB to get shook into the package and hide in the cracks or crevices.  The best advice to reduce the exposure is burn the packages as soon as you take the bees out.   

In fact,  I believe if you read the fine print,  some if not most package provides have a disclaimer about possibilities of SHB.

With all the movement of bees by commercial beekeepers,  SHB are likely anywhere.  If you are purchasing bees from a decent sized operation, you stand a chance of getting SHBs.   

I went many years without SHB,  by not purchasing any bees.   But last year I got my first in one of my out yards.  I'm speculating they came from a guy a few miles down the road that had purchased bees.

Most of us will eventually have to deal with SHB in some way or another.  But as Bjorn mentioned,  the issues is not as bad to deal with in the North.

 
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RZRBCK BEE
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« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2010, 09:51:03 AM »

It would probably be more helpful to try and answer his questions than to belittle or chastise him for being new and not knowing what to do when he buys nucs or packages. This site is awesome and informative and has helped me tremendously but sometimes inexperienced beeks are made to feel stupid or ignorant and it gives them pause about posting questions. Just my opinion.
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ccwonka
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« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2010, 09:56:11 AM »

Questions - Where are you located?
Are your hives in full sunlight most of the day?
Do you have screened bottom boards?
What is under the bottom boards?

Controlling SHB in the south is a bear, and you can pretty much assume you will always have some.  But there are a couple things you can do to help the situation - moisture control, and keeping the hives in the sun.  screened bottom boards.  Moving to the North (not reccomended for southerners, btw).

Also, remember that the SHB will reproduce in the ground under your hives.  Mine sit on rocks over landscape fabric over ground that was origionaly ground drenched to prevent the grubs from developing.  The stuff is supposed to last for 3 months, but I assume under the fabric and tghe rocks it *might* stay effective longer.

The biggest thing though, is make sure the bees have a chance to take care of themselves.  The bees will keep the beetles level down to a minimum as long as there are enough bees to cover all the frames.  Don't expand them too early, no matter how tempting.

Good luck with the AJ's - I tried them, but found I killed more opening the hive to check them than they were actualy catching.  The bottom board traps look intriguing to me though . . . .
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BjornBee
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« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2010, 11:06:24 AM »

It would probably be more helpful to try and answer his questions than to belittle or chastise him for being new and not knowing what to do when he buys nucs or packages. This site is awesome and informative and has helped me tremendously but sometimes inexperienced beeks are made to feel stupid or ignorant and it gives them pause about posting questions. Just my opinion.

 huh Are you speaking of yourself or other new beeks?

I can't say much for others, just Chris who was seeking information.

He/She ?? didn't ask where the SHB could of come from, or how he may of gotten them.

He (as a new beek you imply) automatically assumed that he got them from a nuc. And that may or may not be true. I added the rest to straight forward suggest, that he SHOULD of known if they had SHB when he picked them up. If I had ONLY answered based on his questions, then all the other constructive information probably would of not been offered, thus leaving him in no better position for the next time.

FYI....Don't buy "prepackaged" nucs from ANY nuc supplier. If they are not going to allow you to open up the nuc, inspect the frames, see the queen, look for disease (when you pick them up)....then stick with the crappy package industry.  Wink  Ignorance on the part of the beekeeper, only allows shady producers to exist, thus effecting all producers of a particular product within the industry. If you didn't do your job, then don't blame others.

"They came with plastic frames" or anything else, is something that should not happen. Why does one not know what is being purchased? Did you buy your car that way? "I really wanted a/C, and four wheels, but it came with no a/C and only three wheels". Then to suggest to others that one will not buy a car ever again, and that advice is passed onto others, is a bit questionable. If you didn't want plastic frames, then you should not of bought plastic frames. Or at least requested it when ordering. Same with the car, you want a/C, then order it that way.

Giving the above advice is  far cry then LETTING someone crap on you by selling you problems, then complaining about it on a forum. "Buyer beware" does not get a free pass just because one is new to buying something, especially with bees. If it worked that way, everyone would be getting screwed everytime they purchased an item for the first time. But just as you seek advice from perhaps your parents on buying a new car for the first time, I think asking another beekeeper of what to look for in buying nucs, is the same approach. Did that happen? I do not know. So one is left to giving that advice after the fact. My information goes beyond crying over spilt milk, and suggests perhaps what he should of done, what he could do next time, and what mistakes he made. It's not about belittling or chastising him. Sorry for that helpful advice.... Wink

How do I buy nucs?

What should I of done different?

Good questions, except the timing is different. And answers to both are to help, not chastise.

But "I'm going to assume they came from my nucs" and asking if one should go back to the producer.....may just get all types of responses.

Two types of people will get this. One who will understand it, and one who sees it differently then it was intended. I hope Chris understands it.  grin
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RZRBCK BEE
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« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2010, 11:52:09 AM »

Ok I guess I can only speak for myself because I am relatively new. This is my second year. Like I said I have learned alot from this site and that includes you, Bjornbee. You, and others, have provided a wealth of information to me and others but sometimes the way things are stated or shall I say, come across, is intimidating sometimes. If I have offended, I am sorry and that was not my intent. As for what you could have done different or better? Your second reply was on the mark. Thanks for the info and your time.
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KD4MOJ
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« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2010, 12:58:14 PM »

Chris I don't see where you are located, but if you are in the south, your best bet is to keep the hives in full sun. That and a strong colony will keep them in check. I have 2 hives in shade/partial shade and the rest in full sun. The ones in the shade are a constant battle (25-30 count when you open the top cover) with SHB and the ones in full sun, nary a problem. You might see 1 or 2 on inspection but that's about it.

  "Beetle Barns" have been effective for me, the AJ's are just messy.

   Just my 2¢.

...DOUG
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2010, 01:01:02 PM »

Experience is the best teacher, although she is often a cruel schoolmaster  rolleyes.  

Location is a big variable.  profile, hint hint... Wink

And SHB are attracted to smaller and weaker hives as this gives them greater opportunity as the smaller hives are weaker and less well defended.  They could easily have been from a nearby apiary too.

Keep them in the smallest space possible.  If they are still a bit weak, they could stay in the 5-frame box for a little while.  If you have them in two boxes, get them down to one.

Other than that...you could talk to your supplier, they may have some advice.  Try the traps, keep smashing the little buggers.  Now that you know where they hide, you can find them easier too.  Keep an eye out for the 'maggots' in the hive or on the floor of the hive.

Rick
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Rick
robbo
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« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2010, 01:15:24 PM »

When you get the bottom boards on you may see the SHB wrigglers / eggs land in there. If you have those in the hive, this means they have layed eggs in the hive - this is the sign of trouble.

If thats the case, try cutting out the affected parts of the frames and get rid of any slimey looking comb.

You dont have long to do this - I lost a hive after not taking the wrigglers seriously enough - was my weakest hive, and the bees just flew away
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BjornBee
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« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2010, 01:47:03 PM »

Ok I guess I can only speak for myself because I am relatively new. This is my second year. Like I said I have learned alot from this site and that includes you, Bjornbee. You, and others, have provided a wealth of information to me and others but sometimes the way things are stated or shall I say, come across, is intimidating sometimes. If I have offended, I am sorry and that was not my intent. As for what you could have done different or better? Your second reply was on the mark. Thanks for the info and your time.

Thank you,
No offense taken. The best learning in the world probably came about by something considered an argument....  Wink And those not willing to stick around and listen to it, probably missed an opportunity to evaluate two different perspectives.  grin

I am very opinionated. (and not always right) And I am confident at what I suggest (because I learned from those times not being right). But that only came about by asking every possible question, debating those points I did not understand, or those so far out there that common sense dictated otherwise, and by learning from all the others on the forums as well.
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wd
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« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2010, 03:51:42 PM »

I'm not having a problem with shb here but I do pay attention to it. If they do show up, I'd try every thing possible. I hope what ever and all you do works out well ... I'm including this video of a method by fatbeeman because I'd experiment with it myself ...  again, I'm not nor have had problems with them yet.


Making Small Hive BeetleTraps with the "FatBeeMan"




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D Coates
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« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2010, 05:54:16 PM »

I just got through dealing with SHB's for the first time.  I put a frame of frozen drone brood in a hive that I though was stronger than it apparently was.  I noticed they stopped hauling out the dead drones too early.  5 days after I put the frame in there I checked to see what the problem was.  Much to my horror I found SHB maggots (2 points on the tail) in a 4 inch patch between 2 frames.  I quickly pulled the frames, cleaned the affected areas and froze them.  I reduced the hive to one deep added 2 frames of capped brood from another hive and left them alone for a week.  After considering it I decided to remove the hive from the 90% shade location to my 90% sun main location.  I checked on them this weekend and they were so packed I added an undrawn deep with a 3 frame blank 4 frames of brood, nurses bees and honey from other hives and 3 frames of undrawn frames. 

I checked on their flight activity today and they now doing very well.  They're out and about much earlier and later than they were at the shady location.  I've yet to see a SHB but they're here.  I haven't gotten a package or nuc in 3 years thoug I do collect swarms.  I'll be sure to keep the populations up, keep them in the sun and watch for them at every inspection.
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Chris Smith
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« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2010, 06:48:19 AM »

Thanks to all that posted a reply to my questions.

I am in central Texas, sorry; I just joined and had not filled out a profile but I did post a new member greeting.

I have no previous experience purchasing bees and did not know how to properly inspect them on arrival. In retrospect I realize that the same inspection I now do in the hive would have been appropriate when receiving the nucs.

I did not think the beetles could have arrived so quickly from any place but the Nucs which is why I asked the question about contacting my supplier leaving open the possibility that there was something I hadn't considered or didn't know.

Thanks
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Titus
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« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2010, 10:33:29 AM »

Robo and Bjorn thanks for the advice I see your points.   I understand suppliers aren't the only source of SHB.  I was mostly glad that I didn't purchase the nucs because they turned out to be inferior in my book.  Because of the undrawn plastic frames, the probability that they came with some free beetles and the apparent failure of the queens (if there ever were queens).   I'm not so against plastic frames, its that they were undrawn.
As for rejecting the nucs at pick up, thats tough.  You have to prepay and order ahead of time to recieve what is from a limited supply of nucs.  If you reject it, you may have to wait another year to get bees.  I can see the mayham now of everyone at the suppliers on pick up day, disassembling their nucs for inspetion in the warehouse.  lol
But, Caveat Emptor
I have swarm traps spread out all over the county and have put out the word to get swarm calls, no luck so far.  Yes I would prefer wild bees, but sometimes you have to work with what you can get.  By the way, the package I got is doing fine Smiley and hopefully will be my last.
Bjorn, I just checked and my car came with all 4 tires...I guess I got a good deal thanks for that insight Wink
Sorry Chris if I hijacked your thread.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2010, 11:17:01 AM »

Titus,
The market oftentimes is dictated by consumers demands. Not always, but sometimes.

99% of my customers bring their own boxes for nuc pickup. NO nucs are prepackaged. The customer goes out and watches every frame be taken out of my box, and placed into theirs. The queen is found EVERY time. If a queen cell is found, a SHB is located, or anything else questionable happens, the nuc is closed up and we move onto the next nuc.

I do not just do that for the customers sake. I do that for me also. I know no customer will be calling three days later claiming not to have a queen, or that SBH infestation was my fault, or that they got shorted in some other manner.

I know it also allows beginners to spend time asking questions. Building a business relationship is very important.

I don't say that to sell nucs on this forum. I am sold out. And know I will always be sold out. I say this, because when enough consumers make demands upon the suppliers, then things can change.

I think any nuc producer should operate this way. Prepackaged nucs are a headache many times for all involved, and allows many people to complain about things after the fact, and it is not good for any business' P.R.
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Titus
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« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2010, 11:47:02 AM »

Bjorn, I'm sure you offer a quality product.  If I were in PA, I'd get nucs from you.   
I've never purchased a nuc, I only saw what my in laws received with their first nuc purchases (that I was also considering buying).  I'm sure what they received is not indicative of all nucs.  I'd guess the supplier was getting desperate to meet the need and consequently, the quality of nuc went down  Sad
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2010, 03:27:36 PM »

Everyone seems to agree that full sun helps battle beetles (apologies to Dr. Seuss) but why is that?  Is it just a matter of getting the bees moving earlier in the day so you have a stronger hive?  Presumably it's not a matter of heat being bad for the SHB since they are more of a problem in the South.
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AllenF
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« Reply #19 on: May 12, 2010, 08:29:19 PM »

To take care of the beetles, it just takes a little time to keep their numbers down.   I use my thumb.   Smoke them good.   And hunt them down for the next 5 minutes.  I have tried the frame traps, beetle eaters, barns, barns with unlisted poison in them, fatmans method, gardstar drench, and even have oil trays under most of my hives now.  I think that my thumb kills far more beetles than all of the above combined.  I have seen beetles in packages, and think they are most everywhere now.
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