Dealing with Beehive Pests at Bees of the Woods Apiary: Hive Beetles, Wax Moths, and Varroa Mites


Read the full year of adventures at Bees of the Woods Apiary here.

One of the challenges that beekeepers face is protecting hives from pests.  We find that in August the number of pests tends to really ramp up- probably due to the ongoing heat and humidity here in the Northeast.  Here are three of the most common pests/parasites we have encountered, and how we will be dealing with them.

Bee Yard August

Small Hive Beetles

When the weather gets hot and humid, we start to see an increase in the number of small hive beetles (SHB). These small, black beetles will lay eggs in beehives that then hatch into grub-like larvae. These larvae eat pollen, comb, and even young honeybee larvae. They destroy the frames of comb, and contaminate everything with their feces. 

The good news is that these beetles can usually be controlled by a strong, healthy hive, although I have heard secondhand stories of strong hives being overrun. If we see a few beetles on the inner cover, we aren’t too alarmed, and just smash them with our hive tool. However, if a hive is weak due to loss of the queen, swarming, or other factors, they can be overrun by SHB.

We deal with SHB by trying to keep our hives strong. For example, this year we had a hive that swarmed.  We were leaving on vacation anyway, and decided to check them after we returned to see if they had raised a queen.

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