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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 19th year of beekeeping in April 2024. 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.Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pests in the Hive - Ants and SHB

One of my hives at Stonehurst is the subject of a UGA study (along with a number of other beekeepers' hives).  The researcher came last week and emailed me that he thought the hives were so infested with SHB that they would not survive the winter.

I went over today with the only small hive beetle trap I could quickly find that didn't need an Imrie shim.  It was an AJ's trap.  I recently won two beetle traps like AJ's from Buster's Bees at a Tara Beekeepers meeting, but I couldn't find them today.

I opened the smallest hive and there were SHB EVERYWHERE on the top cover and in the corners.  I didn't see the SHB in the actual hive, which was comforting.  First I used a funny suction instrument that John Jones gave me.  I tried....I really did, but I only sucked one SHB all the way into the bottle.  The rest were in the suction tube and I had no idea how to manage them.  So I gave up on the method and installed the AJ's.

The good news is that the larger hive (fartherest away in the picture) felt heavy and when I opened it, there was not a single SHB.  In the smaller hive beside the smoker, were the tons of SHB - probably at least 150 on the top cover.

I left the hive with an oil filled AJs and we'll see if it catches any of them.  I also put a surround box with a rapid feeder filled with last year's honey on the small hive.

After that I went to Sebastian's to see if that hive needed food.  I opened it to find that ants had taken up residence:

I wish you would LOOK at all the ants.  Funny thing, they weren't in the rapid feeder and there was still some crystallized honey in it.  I had two jars of last year's honey so I refilled the rapid feeder.

I think I'll go back and sprinkle cinnamon all over the inner cover.

At the bee club meeting this week, the president asked who wasn't feeding their bees.  I didn't know whether to raise my hand or not.  I'm not feeding mine in the way she meant - with sugar syrup.  I am feeding the ones that are light on stores with last year's honey.

After the bee meeting in Massachusetts, I want to raise bees that aren't dependent on my interference and don't need sugar syrup to make it through.  I also was scanty in my harvest this year to make sure that the bees are OK for the winter.


  1. Wow what a mess to walk back into. So sorry. I don't think I have ever seen either of these pests up north. It does appear that one of my five hives simply absconded last week. It was a strong first year colony with good stores going into winter. I am not sure what happened but last week I found the hive completely empty. No pile of dead bees, simply gone. The hive does have a weird smell and some scattered dark brood on the frames, too old to really do a rope test for AFB but the smell was suspicious. I don't bother to check for mites since I am not going to treat but I guess they could have become overwhelmed by verroa.

  2. I'm having a very good run of it using "touchless", skep-like, stacked hives. Granted, the design has its limitations but, so far, the benefits by far outweigh the drawbacks. Currently I have a few hives in two remote locations that have required no intervention on my part since installing the packages/swarms this April. I ran three of these hives last year of which only one survived the winter - the survivor being the hive I didn't open at all. I've included a link if you're interested in further investigation

  3. Thanks I found this page which is really good when it comes on content same as the post of bees Vaughn.


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