Beekeeping

Beekeeping: Beetle Blasters

My husband and I recently installed Beetle Blasters into the hive.

According to Wikipedia The small hive beetle (Aethina tumida) is a beekeeping pest.[1] It is endemic to sub-Saharan Africa, but has spread to many other locations, including North America, Australia, and the Philippines.

The small hive beetle can be a destructive pest of honey bee colonies, causing damage to comb, stored honey and pollen. If a beetle infestation is sufficiently heavy, they may cause bees to abandon their hive. Its presence can also be a marker in the diagnosis of Colony Collapse Disorder for honey-bees. The beetles can also be a pest of stored combs, and honey (in the comb) awaiting extraction. Beetle larvae may tunnel through combs of honey, feeding and defecating, causing discoloration and fermentation of the honey.

Living in the South, these pests are common, and almost expected by beekeepers, so, instead of ruining a hive, we turn to the Beetle Blaster. The Beetle Blaster sits nicely between two frames and allows the bees to do all the work by running the beetles up into the traps. Once the honey flow has stopped (fall has turned to winter and the bees are no long foraging but eating from their honey supply) you simply remove (with help from your hive tool cause you know those bees are going to glue those suckers down with propolis) the trap and discard.

Most beekeepers around here use olive oil in their traps but after researching it and discovering the mess the oil can make, I’ve decided to use lime dust. I followed this video to install my traps:

Overall, it was an easy process:

  1. I waited to mid afternoon so that most of the foragers were out working.
  2. I used my smoker to encourage the bees to focus on the honey rather than the beekeeper.
  3. I was surprised at how well the bees had glued the supers (boxes) together. It took me several tries to pry them loose with my hive tool.
  4. The Beetle Blasters slid in perfectly between two frames.
  5. I placed two Beetle Blasters in each box due to the larvae that I’d seen the bees removing daily from the hive.
  6. The girls didn’t seem to be bothered by the Beetle Blasters at all and will eventually glue them down as well.

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