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Author Topic: small hive beetles enormous problem here in sc  (Read 1132 times)
tryintolearn
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« on: August 23, 2012, 01:42:00 AM »

started off this year with a nuc...they drew out frames nicely added another deep...added a new nuc with bees a month ago...all seemed well...

last week i got stung out of nowhere...wasn't even in the hive just out in yard...didn't seem like my normally docile bees.  a few days later the original hive was bearded out really bad...even on the carpet 2 inches deep...

the next morning i went out to see how it was doing and i saw a small swarm in tree over hives...

i captured it and placed in a small medium nuc 4 frames of foundation...

i looked in the strongest hive and was disgusted to find most of the frames were empty do to robbing i figure even though i had entrance reducers on all of them...the comb was infested with beetle larvae..

i took all the frames out and froze them they have been in freezer for 3 days now....

i went back in today all 3 hives...the strongest one (originally) has some brood now yet i didn't find the queen... the medium frame 4 frame nuc has eggs brood but i cudnt find the queen...i think the swarm came from all the hive beetles taking over i have beetle barns in all of the hives but am being overrun here
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D Coates
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« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2012, 08:54:55 AM »

Are you in full sun?
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2012, 09:05:01 AM »

Ditto on the full sun question.

What have you been using in the beetle barns?

Oil traps seem to be a necessity to me....either inside the hive, beneath the screened bottom boards, or...both.

Ed
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tryintolearn
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« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2012, 09:14:56 AM »

full sun till around 5 in evening....using apple cider vinegar and veg oil in beetle barns...had 4 traps in the one that swarmed...one was packed full of beetles all had many in them
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tryintolearn
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« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2012, 09:17:06 AM »

tell me more about the oil traps...i saw something here once about a screened top innercover...are they available or have to make it?
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2012, 10:02:54 AM »

The full sun sounds very good.  I'm confused about you using acv and vegetable oil in the beetle barns...?  In my mind, I thought beetle barns were the flat, square containers that open up like a CD case and different lures/poison is placed inside them and closed back up.  I can't imagine them working with a flowable liquid.  Huh

There are a number of "in hive" beetle traps.  A couple of the popular ones are the Beetle Blasters and the Beetle Jail Jrs.  These are small plastic containers that hold liquid lure and oil.  They are placed down between frames so that there tops are level with the frame tops.  The beetles are attracted to the lure and enter the traps or they are chased by the bees and seek refuge by going into the traps.  I personally use the Beetle Jail Jrs and they catch beetles.  The Beetle Jail Jrs usually cost $2 or a little less.

An oil tray is simply that...a tray filled with vegetable or mineral oil.  These oil trays requires the beekeeper to have screened bottom boards under their hives.  When the oil trays are in place the beetles drop into the oil while evading the bees or simply in the hunt for a hiding/egg-laying place.  These are reported to be very effective and I'm just now getting prepared to install some after successfully experimenting with a make-shift setup.  The trick here is to be sure and have the oil tray where the bees can't get into the oil.

I had toyed with the idea of an inexpensive way of implementing oil trays and finally put together a little system.  Purpose made trays ranged from $15 to $18 and complete oil tray traps were $25 to $50...and all of this plus shipping.  What I ended up doing cost me a $5 baking tray (heavy duty one from a dollar store), a little wood, a few nails, glue if you want, and some epoxy glue.  Here is a thread explaining what I'm doing and have done... Simple oil tray mod for sbb's...  It's so simple a....beekeeper could do it!  grin

I hope this helps you.

Best wishes,
Ed
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2012, 10:06:45 AM »

One more thing to do is limit the beetles' access to the hive.  I will be installing window screening over my inner cover vent and feed holes to stop the beetles from entering via the top of the hive.  I don't use upper entrances so the beetles will be forced to enter the main entrance and travel at least a short distance across the screen over the oil trap.  The Beetle Jail Jrs will be on up in the hive waiting on the ones that don't take the initial plunge into the oil tray.

You won't get all the beetles but you can lower the population enough so that the bees have a chance at controlling the ones that don't get trapped.

Ed
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tryintolearn
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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2012, 08:43:20 AM »

i spoke incorrectly ...i use the beetle blasters...


thanks so much  Ed
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2012, 09:03:44 AM »

I hope some of that helps.  Also, some people switch from telescoping covers to migratory covers just to decrease the areas where the beetles can hide.  But, if you seal the escape hole (oblong hole) in the inner cover with window screw the beetles will collect there and when you remove the outer cover you can mash them with your hive tool (for the ones and twos I prefer my fingertip...more personal satisfaction  grin ).

Being in beetle territory I feel that I have to be proactive in keeping the beetle population down.   Strong hives will definitely keep the beetles in check, but if something happens to the queen or they get into a serious drought or dearth or maybe the hive swarms and leaves the mother colony weak then the beetles may move in with a vengeance.  The beetles are opportunist and will take advantage of any colony weakness.   I'm hoping with my bottom oil traps, 2-3 Beetle Jail Jrs scattered through the hive, and sealing the top entrance that I will put a dent in the beetles ability to build up any sizable population.

Ed
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tryintolearn
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« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2012, 07:41:54 AM »

Ive sealed the 3 inner covers with screen wire along with the tiny entrance on back side of inner cover ...and Ed you were right.   two of the hives went queenless...i put new queens in yesterday and sealed up inner covers and am looking into finding a cookie sheet that will fit the 10 frame screened bottom boards and will try and set up like the link you posted...again many thanks ...one more question both hives had built up nicely one still looks very good with stores...the stronger hive that met with the disaster looks bleak hardly and stores left...there are still lots of bees in there.  7 frames of bees in a 10 frame deep.  if i get a pail feeder for the top do u think this hive could make the winter?   do i need pollen substitutes to help them through?   i still have till early October for them to build up.
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2012, 10:20:34 AM »

Sounds like you're on the right road.  I bought my pans at Family Dollar Store but I didn't see any pans wider than that.  After searching I found that what is termed "1/2 size" or maybe "1/2 sheet" cooking trays/pans are all 18"x13" which might come close to what you need.  Something you might consider if you can't find trays or pans long and wide enough is to find one that the length would span the narrow dimension of the bottom board.  It could be slid all the way forward next to the entrance leaving a few inches at the back of the hive open for ventilation BUT you'd have to figure out how to over-screen the area not covered by the tray with window screen to block beetle entrance through the #8.  You would also need a way to seal the gap between the back lip of the tray and the open screen above because there would be no wood there to "seal" the tray against. 

An option, though more expensive, would be to order some of the Freeman beetle trap trays in 10-frame size...Kelley's and Rossman I believe both carry them and I'm sure other vendors do.  From what I understand they are nice trays...but, I don't think the beetles pay much attention what kind of tray it is while they're doing the oily backstroke. Wink

I'm not sure about what to tell you on stores for the weak colony.  I got my first hive of bees last December (yeah, kinda strange time, eh? Smiley).  It was *maybe* three full frames of bees, a touch of honey and pollen with a patch or two of brood.  I gave $1 a frame to my mentor's best friend for them so the price was right...they just wanted me to have some bees to tinker with until spring.  Anyhow, I wasn't sure about pollen but I kept syrup on them.  Knowing they were a small cluster I wrapped the cement blocks with roofing felt to block the December winds off the screened bottom board and to grab a little solar warmth for them during the day.  These bees had a heavy dose of Caucasian genes in them so they managed better with a smaller cluster than I believe a big Italian colony would have under the same situation.  Anyhow, these bees packed away the syrup.  I had some camillia trees that bloomed along that time so they were bringing in the pollen from those trees and from somewhere else.  I guess I did too good of a job of building them up with the syrup because they swarmed that spring!  rolleyes  Ah well, I'm learning.  Wink  So bottom line...I don't know what to tell you about the pollen end of the equation but I would definitely put some syrup on them.  5:3 seems to be a good all-around ratio.  Just watch out for them packing the hive and creating a honey/syrup bound situation.  One good thing is that you indeed still have your fall flow coming so that will handle a good deal of feeding for you.

As for the feeding pail I use quart mason jars with holes punched in the lid.  The lid has to fit against the screen so the screen naturally has to be on top of the inner board or either a hole cut large enough for the jar lid to sit into and the screen on the bottom of the board.  I got plenty of mason jars on hand and they seem to work good.  Being only a quart you will have to monitor them a little more often than a gallon feeder and you probably won't make up as large a volume of syrup at one time...those aspects can be good or bad depending on your management system. Smiley   

An old beek showed me a trick to get the canning lid surface in closer contact with the screen.  Flip the lid over inside the ring so that the gasket is facing the ring rather than the jar.  If you look at the lids they are "recessed" inward just a small fraction of an inch...turning them backwards in the ring makes the lid's recessed surface point outward bringing the lid surface closer to the bees.  He said that it did not leak doing it this way, either.  I tried it once last year and it did not leak...it was towards the end of feeding and I haven't fed since then so I haven't tried it again.

Sounds like your being proactive...keep at it!
Ed

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dprater
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« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2012, 04:41:39 PM »

Hi tryintolearn, I live in Lexington SC at the edge of the sand hills. I have some hive beetles here but I here from fellow beek that south of here Santee area have real problems. Are you down that way?

Good luck
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