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Monday, July 27, 2009

AJ's Beetle Eater and the Saga of the SHB

The AJ's beetle eaters have been in my home hives for a week, so I thought I should check them out. I was amazed to find dead beetles but not dead bees. The beetle eater is smaller than most traps so it doesn't get as many. My Bermuda was full of small hive beetles under the top cover - I didn't see any deeper in the hive. So the beetles killed by these two traps in this hive were only a small percentage of the total.

However, the Freeman trap (the oil filled tray under the SBB) and the Sonny-Mel trap (that I built from a sandwich box) both had their share of bees that died, drowned in the oil. So to the AJ trap's success, I saw no dead bees in any of the four trays I inspected today.

Here is the set of dead bodies poured out of just one trap in the Bermuda hive. It has my worst infestation. There are very few SHBs in Mellona and I only saw 2 in Aristaeus2.

I was so happy that I refilled the traps and put them back in the hive.

Advantages of AJ's Beetle Eater, so far:
1. No dead bees
2. Lots of dead SHBs
3. Fits easily between frames

Disadvantages of AJ's BE

1. It's hard not to get oil everywhere while filling the trap
2. I end up with lots of oil on my gloves which either means I change gloves after filling the traps, don't wear gloves while filling them, or figure out a spill free way to do the delicate job
3. It's hard, if the bees have propolized the trap to the frame, to lift it out from between the frames. On 50% of the removals, the zipper top popped off and I dripped oil on the bees.
4. The small capacity means that it should be emptied frequently and means that it can't possibly get as many SHBs as one might wish
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  1. Anonymous4:10 PM

    Maybe a pipette can be used to fill the traps with oil? You can buy them in all kinds of places online, and fill the traps with just the right amount of oil.

  2. I would try a small honey bear with a pointy nozzle to fill them in place.

    Also have you tried nematodes? I have in NY and they seem to have disappeared, although I never had more than a few.

  3. Because nematodes are put in the ground under the hive and my hives are on the deck, Dr. Delaplane said he didn't think I should bother.

  4. I have heard that in order to reduce the amount of propolis around the beetle traps you can place a piece of cut linoleum over it. The beetles can still scurry in but the bees can seal it up. I haven't tried this yet, but am planning on it.


  5. I used these for a while when I had the Langtroth hives. I used 4 of them per hive and found that they worked best when on the nexte to last fame. The bees always seemed to push the SHB to the edge of the hive. I filled them with a cajun turkey injector syring. Getting them out of the frame was sometimes tricky but a hive tool and not over filling the traps worked great! I just filled about 1/2 way up but you have to empty them more often.

    I have changed to topbar hives and it seems the bees are better at keeping the beetle populaton down on their own. I kept the AJ's but have not had to use them yet.

  6. Anonymous6:08 AM

    we have had great success using a small syringe to fill the traps after they are in place so saving the oil spill. Until our numbers of SHB reduced we would empty every couple of days, and sometimes used two traps in a heavily infested colony - worked really well!

  7. We also have great success filling the traps after they are in place with a Monoject syringe. It has a long, curved tip which is perfect for filling AJ's Beetle Trap. We also use nematodes and so far (knocking wood) the SHB population is very low.


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