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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!
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Interlopers in the Bee Hive

When I opened my hives I found roaches living on top of the inner cover. There were none in the hive (that I saw). I believe they are on the inner cover to take advantage of the heat, the dark, and the shelter of the hive. But GROSS is how I felt when I saw them in each of the three hives.

It's amazing - always some creature - the last time I looked I had small hive beetles. They seem to have subsided for the winter and the cockroaches have taken their place.



In some parts of the country (probably in Atlanta as well) mice sometimes move into the hives for the winter. So far I haven't had a mouse, but I could do without these roaches. In Beekeeping: An Illustrated Handbook, Diane Stelley says, "Even with the entrance reduced, a small mouse can still wriggle in, make a nest, and tear up the wax combs." She and other beekeepers suggest using a piece of 1/2 inch hardware cloth nailed across the entrance to keep mice out but still allow bees to come and go.

None of my books mention roaches, but Michael Bush, in a post on Beemaster, says that roaches between the inner and top cover and normal. If they make their way successfully into the hive itself, that is a sign of a weak hive.



YUCK!


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11 comments:

  1. Okay, I must admit there are some things that the good old cold white north doesn't have to deal with. So after seeing those photos I don't feel quite so jealous about your warmer clime :)

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  2. does the roaches spoil the honey?

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  3. Anonymous8:36 AM

    I'm always finding little creatures too, anywhere from ant colonies to hive beetles to earwigs.

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  4. I've found earwigs also - usually walking around the upper edge of the hive (under the telescoping cover) or on the inner cover like these roaches:
    http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/2008/06/todays-inspection-beautiful-capped.html

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  5. Plenty of roaches here also on the inside of the cover. I have never found them inside the hive.

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  6. Anonymous6:12 PM

    I agree that's gross, Linda! I've seen them in my teacher's hive (lid) and he didn't act like it's a big deal. I'd always hoped I'd never find one in mine. I did the other day. (Squish!)

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  7. I have seen this in my hive too. I believe that it is the hive top feeder which I HAD on my hive attracting the roaches although as I thought about it I think its natural. It seems to me that where the bees, in the wild, build there hives is the same place roaches like. I cant have it though and after killing all the roaches that were in my hive and filling my hive top feeder then checking the next day and seeing more roaches accumulated in the feeder swimming in the sugar water I have done away with the feeder. Do you all who have seen this have hive top feeders? Eric Wilm. N.C.

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    Replies
    1. The best and safest way to rid your hives of these roaches is to put a COMBAT roach station on your top box just underneath the telescoping cover. It's a little black box that does not affect the bees but destroys the roaches.

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    2. I understand you idea that I put in roach traps on the top of my hives, but they are not bothering the bees when the hive is strong and I see no reason for adding poison to my hive in any way.

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  8. Anonymous3:21 PM

    I have also seen them in my hives and I hate it! I also use top feeders and I find they come around more when I am feeding. I even put some roach traps near my hives and it didn't really help that much. I have thought about using boric acid but I didn't know if it would hurt my bees or the honey. Anyone had any luck using other things?

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  9. Anonymous11:04 PM

    I set up a stack of empty supers next to my active hive. It is there for a swarm next spring....but for now, I put a lot of glue traps on top of the frames. I have caught 4-5 roaches a day for a week. I think they just like dark places in the day time. If you go out there at night, they are running around the yard. There is no honey or bees in this other hive... just 5 feet away from my 4 super tall other active bee hive. there are no roaches in the one with bees....but they are climbing all around it at night. Then in the day ... they go and jump on my glue traps. I imagine after catching a hundred of them... it might slow down. Here in Texas, though.... roaches are king in dark places. You got to love em!

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