Managing Hive Beetles in Home Beehives


| 8/21/2015 7:28:37 AM


Tags: hive beetles, honeybees, varroa mites, pest management, Illinois, Julia Miller,

 

Small hive beetles (Aethina tumida Murray) are small black beetles that seek out honey and beehives. Once inside a hive, they nestle in small cracks, edges and corners. You may see them scurry under frame spacer or where two boards join. Some beekeepers have noted something of a propolis cage to keep the beetles in one area.  A healthy colony will sequester a small population of beetles and keep them in check. They will often post guard bees near the beetle's hideout to keep them contained. However, if the population gets out of control, for example in a weak hive, the beetles can take over contributing to a die out of that colony.

When the small hive beetles gain strength, they will leave the crevices and move into the comb. The larvae will feed on honey and the honeybee pupa. A yeast that is carried by the small hive beetle will cause honey to ferment and create a slime in the honeycomb. This obviously ruins the honey. Therefore the beekeeper should be mindful of the small hive beetle population and take steps to reduce or eliminate beetles in the hives. 

Even though a strong colony will sequester the beetles, it is a good thing for the beekeeper to help the colony out whenever possible. Below are a few ways to help keep the small hive beetle in check.

 

Beetle Traps

There are several styles of traps, all of which use an odorless oil, like vegetable oil to drown the beetles. An attractant can also be added, e.g. cider vinegar to lure the beetles to the trap.




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