New Nucs with SHB?

Discussion in 'Pests and Diseases' started by Dbure, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. Dbure

    Dbure New Member

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    Well, I have to admit that when I did the first inspection of my new hives over the weekend I was somewhat taken aback to find that each one had some small hive beetles in them. All of my equipment was brand new, so I am assuming they came on the frames with the nucs. I know that it is something that just about can't be guaranteed against, but I had hoped to not have to deal with it right off.

    I need to treat for these and feel somewhat urgent about it. Just how fast does this pest damage eveything? The weather has been so bad and is suppose to rain for several days here in Texas. Just opening the hives again may be a challenge.
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    SHB adults will fly up to 5 miles, so they may have come from down the road from you. A few is no problem, but they can increase rapidly. I can't advise you too well about them in Texas. Maybe Tec or some of the others can help.
     

  3. Dbure

    Dbure New Member

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    Thanks Iddee. I did not know they could fly that far. I can't tell you how disgusted I was to see them. I could see the little bees trying to corner them. They are probably more disgusted than I am. They have uninvited house guests that make a big mess of everything. :-x
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Dbure:
    it is my experience that the small hive beetle is less of a problem this year in Texas than in past years. I suspect this is due to the extremely dry season which has not given the shb much opportunity. Rain of course would likely change the shb population dynamics.

    I would suggest a dribble of feed added over a good bit of time is the first and best line of defense for a nuc against the shb. It just keeps the unit growing so they outcompete the shb. You also need to keep a close eye on any litter (trash or whatever) that may accumulate on the bottom board (another good hangout for the shb) and burn this when it does appear (ie do not toss or sweep on the ground since this just help promote the shb populaiton).

    good luck...
     
  5. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Listen to tec in the Texas area, I have used beetle blaster traps in the hive with very good success.
     
  6. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Up here (Canada) we just had a shipment of queens from Hawaii show up with SHB (1) and larvae on the queen cages. They have already informed me that they will be holding the queens that arrive for an extra day to examine the load and if they find a single beetle or larvae.......................?????
     
  7. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    Get used to the beetles... that's all you can do when you're living down South.
     
  8. Dbure

    Dbure New Member

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    Thank all of you for the helpful advice and suggestions on how to deal with this aggravation. I thought I would try some beetle blaster traps and maybe lay some diatomaceous earth under the cedar mulch layer which the hives are on top of. There is weed block under the mulch so maybe this will help. I figure that since the beetles' life cycle involves going down into the ground that the DE should illiminate some of them. My main concern would be in harming the bees, but I don't expect they would venture down under the mulch themselves. I don't want ants or other intruders carrying it into the hives inadvertently either. Has anyone here used DE around their hives before, or is there a risk involved in using this stuff even if controlled?
     
  9. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    DE is a physical killer in that it cuts the exoskeletons of insects until they die from thousands of cuts. A single speck of it might not feel too good to a bee, but it's not going to kill the bee either, so I don't think ants tracking it into the hive would be a problem (besides the fact that the ants aren't likely to be willing to cross the DE to get to the hive since it would be death by a thousand cuts for them, too.

    Here's the rub... in order to kill any beetle larva by that method, your hive would have to be allowing the beetles to lay eggs and the larva to develop and spoil the honey. That should not be happening even if there are a few adults in the hive when you open it. SHB's don't need honey bees to survive and reproduce, so under normal circumstances the SHB should not be to the point that they are having larva drop from the hive. If they are, then the main problem is that the hive is weak. Taking care of whatever malady is weakening the hive to that degree will have a much greater impact on the SHB than the DE layer would have. So just my opinon... DE is a waste of money on SHB... but if it's cheap enough and you've got money to burn then I don't think laying down a layer under the hive and under mulch would hurt anything either.
     
  10. Dbure

    Dbure New Member

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    You make a very good point Bens-Bees. I have learned quite a bit more about these SHB and even though it bothers me that there is even one in any of the hives, it seems it is an inevitable occurrence that should just be watched carefully. I know that if I use the beetle traps it should help to keep the bees from expending more of their energy keeping the beetles cornered. I'd rather they were out foraging and making honey. :D That alone may be enough and I will see how well it works before going to the trouble of using the DE. :thumbsup:
     
  11. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Question:
    If you have those home made traps from squares of plastic political signs, filled with boric acid and plugged on both ends with Crisco, where should they be placed inside the hive if you have wide open screen bottoms?
    In a single 10frame deep hive, should those type traps (about 3" square) be placed on top of the frames, or directly on the screen down below the frames? Or maybe at both locations?
     
  12. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    ""Or maybe at both locations?""

    Yes
     
  13. rast

    rast New Member

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    Knock on wood, I have never had a SHB infestation like I have read about. I did acquire a couple a few years ago that had a bunch in them, they were shaded most of the day. I put them on Screen BB's and stapled the boric acid traps to the inside of the outer cover (no inner covers). Seemed to help, but moving the hives did more good than anything. I put them on some citrus grove sugar sand. Perhaps their immediate breeding ground was in the natural mulch under the hives.
    I pulled the boxes off one and sat and watched the bees still on the solid bottom board one afternoon. The bees would run the SHB into the burr comb on the board, mill around it for a minute, then go chase another one if it came close.
     
  14. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    This is just me, but I wouldn't want to put any boric acid in the hive at all... but if I did, I DEFINATELY wouldn't want it perched above the frames where it could sprinkle down onto the bees and larva when I got in there to check the bees.

    For the most part, I like the AJ's beetle eaters. There are only two things I don't like about them. 1. They are slightly too wide for good frame spacing... and 2. They come apart too easily

    If I were going to design a beetle trap, I would start with the AJ's beetle eater design and slim it down by a 16th of an inch (it's not much, but it would help), then I'd make the clips on the end about a 16th inch longer, each, so that the top is nearly impossible to remove without intentionally trying to remove it.

    At any rate, I still like that one. I've tried beetle blasters and run them in the same hives side-by-side and invariably the AJ's beetle eaters trap more beetles, and they are permanent, so buy 'em once and just clean/refil 'em when necessary whereas the beetle blasters you have to keep buying, so after 2 years you've already spent more than an AJ's beetle eater, after 4 years you've spent twice as much, etc. It's not a lot of money if you're a hobbyist or even a sideliner, but if you have a couple hundred hives, that'll add up quick.

    Also, keeping the bottom board clear of debris makes a huge difference. I had one hive that was threatening to be over-run by them, but after cleaning out the bottom board they got the upper-hand on the beetles and look like a normal hive again. According to Joe Tarwater the beetles will pupate in the debris on the bottom board if it builds up, and I have no reason not to believe him.
     
  15. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip...
    According to Joe Tarwater the beetles will pupate in the debris on the bottom board if it builds up, and I have no reason not to believe him.

    tecumseh:
    I will second Joe's observation.