Sunday, July 22, 2012
LESSON 121: Small Hive Beetle Trapping Part 1 www.honeybeesonline.com 217-427-2678
Hello again from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms located in central Illinois where it is hot and dry too! But, our bees are doing great, making lots of honey. Thanks for joining us for another lesson in beekeeping. With the honey harvest going strong, this will be a timely lesson. I want to stress the importance of being vigilant at trapping small hive beetles. They are everywhere. If you have not seen shb in your hives, they just haven’t found you yet. They most likely will. Most beekeepers must continually kill and trap shb.
So let me point out several essential practices to reduce shb infestations in your hives.
1. Do not throw old comb on the ground near your hives as this could attract shb. Instead, carry a bucket into your bee yards and place unwanted comb into the bucket and melt the wax down promptly.
2. Keep your extracting area very clean and closed off to the outside. Harvest supers quickly, the same day, and put them back on hives.
3. Freeze extracted supers for 24-48 hours. This will kill any shb eggs and wax moth eggs. I freeze my supers immediately upon extracting the honey.
4. When putting wet supers (supers that have been extracted but still have some honey in the comb making it appear wet) back on the hive make sure there is one or two beetle traps in the supers. It may take a few days for the bees to start working the wet supers, and this delay may give the shb enough time to infest the unprotected wet supers.
My hive in the photo is going crazy filling up supers. I placed 3 wet supers on it and placed one beetle trap on the top super just as an extra defense against the beetles that could find these wet supers before the bees get back up there to work it. I also froze the supers for 48 hours.
In this lesson on beetle trapping I am calling it part one because I want to look at several common traps used on shb. Today, the Better Beetle Blaster.
This is practically a throw away trap though many of us will get several uses from a single trap if properly managed. The trap is often misused. It works best when the following procedure is followed.
Place 2 traps in each deep hive body. One between frames 1 & 2 and the second trap between frames 9 & 10. This is where the beetles often travel. If very few to no beetles present themselves, you can only place traps in the top hive body. Stagger the placement so one side is offset from the other side. It should look like the traps in the photo above.
The beetle trap should be filled with 25cc of vegetable oil. We sell a trap that comes with a needleless syringe. The syringe is used to insert the oil without making a mess as oil is also bad for bees if spilt in the hive.
Do not put too much oil in the trap or it may not work effectively. About 1/4 to 1/2 inch of oil in the trap works best. The bees will chase the beetles into the trap and they will drown in the oil. The traps need maintained every 2 weeks. If you leave them on longer, beetles are less likely to go into a trap filled with other dead beetles.
There is a proper way to remove a Better Beetle Blaster trap. Many people simply pull them out. Do not do that. First, take the curved portion of your hive tool and run it on the top along both sides of the trap killing all shb hiding beneath the trap where it hangs on the top bar of the frames. If you pick it up without doing this, many beetles may be set free to run throughout the hive. Next, spread out the frames so that you can make space to easily remove your trap. If you do not do this, you may rip the trap and spill oil in your hive.
Finally, once your trap has more than 10 beetles in it, discard it and replace with a new one. The trap should be replaced after two weeks.
I see no reason to bait the trap with apple vinegar but some do. I prefer not to put any kind of shb attractant in my hives for obvious reasons.
To read my complete lesson on shb click here. Or look at my LESSON 109.
Check out some of our more popular lessons:
-How to harvest honey
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David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms