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I've been keeping this blog for nine years and I began my 10th year of beekeeping in April 2015. Now there are about 1270 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.

Even if you find one post on the subject, I've posted a lot on basic beekeeping skills like installing bees, harvesting honey, inspecting the hive, etc. so be sure to search for more once you've found a topic of interest to you. And watch the useful videos and slide shows on the sidebar. All of them have captions. Please share posts of interest via Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

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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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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