21 Jun

small HIVE BEETLE beekeepers ENEMY! SHB beekeeping 101

small HIVE BEETLE beekeepers ENEMY! SHB beekeeping 101

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Small Hive Beetle is a common invader of the #Apis Mellifera or otherwise known as the European Honeybee. #SHBT is a small dark shiny black beetle that flies into the hive entrance at great speeds and therefore slip right past the guard bees. The small hive beetle is very destructive to any hive in greater numbers, but if you keep your hives strong, they will happily dedicate bee resources throughout the beehive to keep this intruder under control.

The small hive beetle (#SHB) does not like the light, so it is drawn towards the darkest areas of the hive, which are typically in the corners of the beehive, in crevices of the honey frames, under the top cover and off course in the darker empty comb cells. The bee colony, if strong, will designate many small hive beetle chasers which will keep the beetle cornered in a particular area. If the small hive beetle gets into the grasp of a bee however, it will tear it to bits or grab it and fly it out of the hive. If the bees however manage to trap the beetle in a single spot long enough, the beetle will die of dehydration and starvation, and we have seen the bees even create a propolized barrier around the beetle so it cannot escape. 


Small Hive beetle SHB

Small Hive beetle SHB

SO why is the Small Hive Beetle such a big problem you ask? Well it lays hundreds of eggs throughout the beehive, into the empty cells, and the eggs and larvae appear to the bees as their own, so they continue to feed it well into its larvae stage, and that is when the beetle larvae will destroy the colony and the beehive unless it is strong enough to protect itself from the intrusion.

Beekeepers can help the bees by firstly managing their hives in a sustainable manner and visiting the beehives often and regularly to check on their beehives during their inspections. Each visit should reveal the state of the health and strength of the colony and the beekeeper should get an indication of the small hive beetle population. In our future videos, we will look at some of the traps #beekeepers use to trap the beetles. There are many options available, both organic and natural and chemical. The small hive beetle traps also come in many various shapes and sizes, and many beekeepers have spent many years investigating and trialing a way to prevent the hive beetles entry in the first place, which it seems, is still kind of a holy grail. We would be very keen to hear from any beekeepers out there that may have successfully created a barrier to entry so please post your comments below and lets share ideas on this topic that troubles most beekeepers the world over. 

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