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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Small Hive Beetle Trap Saga

Yesterday I did all the construction for the Sonny-Mel Small Hive Beetle trap and put it on my three hives. I posted pictures of the process of making the lure for the trap in an earlier post.

I made a video of the whole construction process.

[Note: I worried about the hole size (that perhaps they were too small) in the sandwich boxes so I went back and made the holes on 2 sides of the boxes larger before I put the boxes in the hives. I didn't want my now somewhat smaller bees (as I regress) getting into the boxes instead of the beetle.]

Most of the members of my bee club aren't trying the things I am trying. I wish I could watch someone do the things I am doing for myself for the first time. So I am made this video in case one of you would like to see someone else making this trap before making it yourself.

I hope the trap works and will report to you the results.


  1. Anonymous9:49 AM

    Good post. I am worried that the bees will build a bunch of burr comb in the frame with your trap. Consider putting your small hive beetle trap in a hive top feeder (in other words, put the whole plastic SHB trap where the syrup would go in a hive top feeder). That way, the bees cannot get near the trap and they can’t build burr comb around it. This will also prevent bees from getting into the SHB trap, so long as the telescoping outer cover is snug to the hive top feeder.

  2. Anonymous12:17 PM


    I just love, love watching you construct things and your videos are extremely educational. You have to understand that I am a women beekeeper, and around the same age as you, and I also started my first hive April 2006 just like you. So I totally identify with you and I have enjoyed your progress with beekeeping. I do not miss a day of your blog. You are my hero!!!

    I hope I can continue to make all this work for me.

    Annette from Placerville California

  3. Hey Linda --
    I can't seem to locate your email address, but wanted you to know nonetheless that I have flagged this post to my local beekeeping club, and probably many of the most active beekeepers in Maryland. SHB has arrived in one of my hives, and I don't intend to take it lightly. Your video is incredibly helpful, and we are all grateful to you for showing this to us!


  4. Linda,
    Great video. I am absorbing all I can from you for my start in this wonderful hobbie in spring '08. I need to find out if these pests are "regonal", and others that may afect me in the Hudson Valley of NY.

    Jamie, Marlboro, NY


  6. Anonymous10:31 AM

    I discovered small hive bettles and their lava trapped in the top hive feeder(both the brown plastic, and the polystyrene): the ones that holds several gallons. The mixture I found them in contained sugar water and "megabee".

  7. Anonymous11:48 PM

    Linda, we need an update. Did it work?

  8. It worked as well as anything else. The bees tended to propolize the holes in the sandwich containers. I am trying two new approaches in 2009 - no three: the AJ's Beetle Eater - which I had last year and didn't use, a mouth aspirator to suck up the beetles individually, and a new trap that was sent to me by its inventor....watch for it to appear next week on one of my hives.

  9. Anonymous1:54 PM

    I started a new hive with a package of bees last Saturday, April 18, 2009, in the The Woodlands, Texas. I was watching activity at the hive entrance on Sunday late in the day and noticed a hive beetle land on the bottom board and head for the entrance. I squashed it and a couple more before sundown. After watching the hive during the day at odd times, I noticed that the hive beetles seem to start their activity in the late afternoon. I a making your beetle trap as described and will put a couple in the top feeder when it's empty.

    Anybody else retired and watching their bees notice the same late afternoon activity by the beetles or do I just have too much time on my hands? Haa!

  10. Anonymous10:29 AM

    I started a hive from a package April 16th in Birmingham, Alabama. Yesterday (May 2)the hive beetles showed up on the landing board in late afternoon (7 pm), just as you have observed. A bee bit and ejected one beetle; I captured another.

  11. Hi Linda,

    Do you still think the Sonny-Mel Small Hive Beetle trap is the best way to deal with the SHB? Or have you found a new and better way?


  12. One negative comment, hardly worth mentioning: the soldering iron you use is not a "women's" tool. Its point is finer for more exact jobs in electronics. Gotta watch like a hawk for those female denigrations.

    My South Florida hives were devastated by moth and beetle larva a few years ago. It's taken me years to recover from the huge, ugly worms and begin again. Thanks for the ideas. I have my hives raised on single 4 x 4's, painted with Tanglefoot (to protect against ants). Before I build the extra space atop the frames, I'll try the traps just under the bottom boards and see if I get any.

    Your hive on your deck looks great. It must be a joy to be able to observe things so closely.

  13. Hi John, I called it a women's tool because it was sold in a pink box labeled "Women's Soldering Tool" - I too am a hawk watcher for denigrations of women.

  14. Anonymous6:30 AM

    A neighbour has SHB, she has moved the hive close to the house and watches every afternoon. She too has observed that they fly in late afternoon and hang around the entrance, lining up in crevices so the bees cant get to them.
    Dont know how far they fly in from though.

  15. Anonymous10:03 PM

    I have made a SHB trap that really works. Here is a link http://web.aanet.com.au/~Bees/beetletrap.html

    Let me know what you think. I am catching about 200 SHB per trap per week.

    Yep that is a lot, but take a look.


  16. Hey Linda,

    Just made the SM trap and had a question about the size of the holes. In another post, you indicated that the size of the hole is 3/8". However, it looks like the holes made in the video are much smaller. I used a 1/4" drill bit since it was the largest bit I had - technically too small, but realistically even this seems too big.

    Of course, I don't want my girls getting caught in the trap, so I thought I'd double check with you before putting it out.

    FYI: I say the SHB for the first time last week in my (strong) hive. Apparently, they are not much of a problem here in the north (MI), but I still want to do what I can to get rid/control them before winter hits.


    Todd (Becca and Matt's friend)

  17. I put the 3/8" as a recommendation because that's what Mel said when I talked to him about his trap. I tried to make mine 3/8" with the tip of the soldering iron. The problem with using a drill is that the edges are rough, making it hard for the SHB to slip through comfortably. Probably you'll be fine because drilling into plastic isn't like drilling into wood and you probably made slightly bigger holes - if 1/4" is 2/8", then 3/8" is only slightly bigger.

  18. Hey Linda,
    I watched your video for making the sandwich box beetle trap. Are you saying that 3/8" is too small for the bees? I guess I'm confused because for the bottom screen just above an oil filled pan below the hive, I've been told that even 1/4" is too large and that the optimum size for a "beetle hole" is 3mm. Which is correct?

  19. Anonymous3:15 PM

    3/8" seems HUGE to me...any bigger and the bees might build COMB in the holes; 3/8" is a max bee-space. I'd been seeing 5/16" as the max for most bee-excluding devices; and even that seems a bit large to me, considering my bees move fairly freely through 1/4" spaces in the hive :~


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