Its that time of year, as the weather warms the bees get busy and the nectar flows for us here in Aus. But its also the time that natures throws adversity at our precious bees by giving them some competition to take over the hives.
I am talking about Small Hive Beetle and Wax Moth.
So the Best Defence is a Strong Offence - and this can never be truer in a bee hive. Also understanding the enemy is so important so do your research and reading they are amazing creatures in their own right.
So how to control them and prevent them from taking over -
No 1 Rule - The number of bees will be everything to keep these critters at bay throughout the upcoming summer and autumn period.
So some guidelines for everyone to battle these pests -
- Ensure when adding boxes or stickies the hives are full of bees.
- never add stickies to a nucleus colony - new frames or brood frames only.
- Add traps (silver bullets, plastic SHB traps with oil or DE)
- Apithor's for solid based hives. (Can be placed on mesh bases with a piece of lino on the base for them to sit on)
- Use mesh vented bases and SHB oil tray based hives especially for coastal humid areas.
- if using fly catcher lures for SHB place well over 100mtrs away from the apiary and change contents weekly.
- do tray and brood inspections regularly - (remember when doing brood inosctions on weak hives you release the SHB from their bees jails, so be conscious of this)
- Have a strong young queen at all times! (queenless hives are very susceptible to SHB)
If you experience a "slime out" freeze equipment for 24hrs, clean with a bleech solution and burn all honey and brood frames affected by the slime. Honey affected by slime is poisonous to humans so wear PPE.
SHB Beetle below
SHB maggots and "slime out"
Wax moth Maggots below
Below Wax moth slime out