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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 18th year of beekeeping in April 2023. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a
Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Full On Attack Against the Small Hive Beetle

I read on BeeWorks about a new possible method for ridding the hive of the small hive beetle. Every time I open my hives I find SHBs under the inner cover. I smash as many as I can with my hive tool, but they are always there.

Last year I bought an apple cider vinegar trap from Brushy Mountain Bee. I found dead beetles in the trap every time I opened the hive, but also found live ones. The trap is easy to put together and easy to use, but it uses up one frame in the super and I'd like to find something even more effective.

Here are my previous posts on the SHB showing the Brushy Mountain trap and its results:

1. Installing the SHB trap
2. Checking for the results of the trap being in the hive
3. Looking at drowned beetles who fell into the trap

The men whose method is posted on Beeworks are Sonny Chidister and Mel McConnell. They make a lure like one would use to lure wax moths and put it in a sandwich container with a top on it. The container has the lure in a bottle top and sits in the sandwich container which has FGMO on the bottom of the container. There are small holes poked in the sides of the sandwich holder to allow the beetle access, but too small to allow the bee.

The recipe for the lure is 1 cup water, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup sugar and a ripe banana peel, cut up in small pieces. (I was short 3 T of apple cider vinegar and substituted 3 T of raspberry vinegar - if this doesn't work we can blame the vinegar!)

I mixed the apple vinegar, sugar and water. Then I took my very sharp knife and cut the banana peel into tiny pieces. I added that to the mixture and poured the whole mess into a pint jar. Sonny just emailed me and told me to put the jar outside for a day in the sun and it will be ready to use.

I went to the grocery store to buy the mineral oil and the plastic sandwich containers. Checking out the mineral oil, the clerk looked at me with pity as if she had had to use the stuff herself. I smiled and said, "Oh, this is for my bees." The conversation after that was totally confusing for everyone. What was I thinking, explaining small hive beetles while holding a bottle of mineral oil in my hand!

So the next challenge is to make holes in the plastic sandwich container. I'll let you know how it goes on another post.

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  1. Hello Linda, you have a wonderful blog. I was just browsing through the navigation pane and discovered your page. :) Great info!

  2. Anonymous10:16 PM

    Linda, I'm just north of you, Dalton, and have just started a hive. I think I saw my first SHB this afternoon. Small, black and scuttled out of site pretty fast. I was wondering, how bad has SHB gotten for you? From what I've read, which isn't much, they can be pretty bad.

  3. hello linda;
    good bee blog .I am turkish bee keeper.I have bee blog. http://anaarici.blogspot.com

  4. hello linda;
    good bee blog .I am turkish bee keeper.I have bee blog. http://anaarici.blogspot.com

  5. The small hive beetle so far hasn't really damaged my strong hives - often I find SHBs propolized by the ends of the frames in the hive box, Since I have one very weak hive this year, I'm anxious to get rid of the beetle. At the worst last year, when I would open a hive I'd find 30 beetles. There's a funny picture in an earlier (2006) post of a SHB eating honey out of a cell right beside a bee. I'm hoping this trap will work.

  6. Anonymous1:18 PM

    Any news on how well these SHB traps are working? I saw 4 SHB's between my two new top-bar hives. I want to try and get rid of them before they get to be a problem. I'm planning on trying out these type of traps but was curious how well they were working for you.

  7. Kathy1:14 PM

    My husband and I live just southeast of Atlanta in Thomson and have had our hive about three months. We were working it this morning and saw a few SHB. I found your blog in my search to find out what they were and what to do about them. Thanks for the info! As we were looking for the vinegar trap, we also saw the Beetle Blaster (do you recommend?) and the new mite strips. I remember mites being a big problem for my granddaddy's hives. Is that something that can be used as a preventive or do we need to see signs before using? 8-27-11

  8. I don't use mite strips or any poison in my hives. I do like this beetle trap for the SHB though.

  9. Keep on rockin'! Thank you for sharing.

  10. Hi Linda
    We are first time bee keepers with two hives created by welcoming two different swarms this year! One is larger and seems to be thriving, the other is substantially smaller. We just realized tonight that they both have small hive beetle. I like the idea of the trap that you created but have questions. The main question being where is it that you place the sandwich container? The second being did it work?
    Thanks so much for the sharing of your gifts and knowledge

  11. I put the sandwich container on top of the inner cover surrounded by an empty hive box or a shim high enough to accommodate it. Then put on the telescoping cover. It works great except that in the hot south we have to check it fairly frequently because the lure evaporates. You do have to be very careful to make the melted holes in the sandwich box large enough for the hive beetle but not large enough to allow a bee entrance. I have killed a bee or two in my first box which didn't have the right size holes.


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