Hive Beetles

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Posted by kat | Posted in Our Bees | Posted on 03-09-2012

Saturday, I went and checked on my hive,  while I check them daily, the hive hasn’t been opened since April when I transferred the bees into it.   I noticed a little black beetle on the outside of the hive, so I took a picture and then searched on google to see what it was.    It ended up being a hive beetle, and my hive ended up being fairly full of the larvae of the hive beetle.    So I did some research and there are several things you can try and do to battle these pests.  Hive beetle larvae love the pollen and honey, so as they burrow through the wax, they leave behind stuff that causes the honey to ferment and the bee’s will abandon that frame of honey.  If your infected in high enough numbers, you can lose several frames of honey.  Then you have to winter feed your bee’s, which can be a pain for you and can sometimes cause you to have syrup instead of real honey.  If they weaken your hive enough, you can also leave them open to getting wax moth’s which can further damage your colony of bees.   Your hive being in full sun is supposed to help keep them at bay, as the beetles do not like light.

1)  My hive was  in partial sun, so I moved it to a full sun location.   I had to wait until after sunset when all the bee’s are supposed to be in the hive, you then trap them temporarily inside, then after a day or two you remove what ever was keeping them inside and they are now readjusted to the fact they have been moved.

2) Take out any infected frames and put in clean frames.
I added four new frames that had never been used.  I will clean the other frames and then use them later if needed.

3) Requeen the hive and add some brood.
I am not going to try this one yet, as I am not sure that my queen is dead, but I know I lost some brood.

4) Squash any and all beetles you find when you open the hive or that are crawling on the hive.
I have been doing this the few times I have opened the hive, since finding the beetles.  I also have been squashing any of the larvae I have been able to get to.

5) Put in roach station bait traps
You can also make your own version of these, or there are several different traps out there that you can buy.  I tried a mouse sticky trap and it was loaded and it was only in there overnight.  I thought it would only let the beetles in, but I found a few live bees in there as well.  So I need to find a way to make the hole smaller.

For now I am going to try the moving to a full sun location and then we will go from there.   If all else fails and I loose the whole hive, I will see if I can buy a queen and some brood and try again.  I also might be able to see if someone has a hive ready to swarm and then see if they are willing to let me have the swarm to add to the hive once I have the issues fixed.    I should know in about 6 weeks if I need to find a new queen or not.

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