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Watch out - Bugs about

Well not quite bugs, but the intrepid beetle....

that's right.... SHB Small (I'd say Super) Hive Beetle...

you have wonder at natures ways sometimes - here's a beetle that prior to 2002 we didn't even have records of it being in Australia - Now nearly the whole country has it.... and it is creating havoc for bee colonies wherever it goes....

this little beetle needs a heap of respect, it goes up against thousands of bees by itself, that want to just do it damage, it pushes its ways in being chased and corralled, picked up attempted to be stung 1000's of times just to take advantage of the warm humour protein and carbohydrate rich environment inside. Even when it's locked up in a corner being guarded by bees it will reach out stroking the mandibles of the by putting the bee in a trance and causing it to regurgitate it stomach contents for food, and it will wait for its next chance to run.... could be days, weeks but it'll have its day.... and when it does it will unleash a magnitude off eggs into the honey comb that develops into tiny maggots drilling their way through everything, leaving a highly toxic slime behind in their wake.... a few thousand of these will soon see the bees admit defeat and leave.... and when the beekeeper comes along - woah.... what the.... happened here--- a maggot slime filled box with no bees....

so we are seeing a lot of this exact picture recently.... why...

well have to take you back approx 39 days ago when the weather was humid, the rains were around and in the soil was an army of SHB developing ready for this exact moment.... now hot summer nights, humidity in the hive and it's those beetle that are now flying into every hive each night hoping to beat the bees and start the cycle all over again....

so how do we help the bees.....

some basics....

(Oil - veggi oil, baby oil, canola oil great to use (DE - Diatomaceous Earth - powder form - less messy than oil but does get a crust on it in humid locations which makes I'm not work)

- small hive beetle traps with oil or DE. you can use silver bullets or black plastic disposables or there are others on the market

- a mesh Base with an oil or DE tray

- mesh base with corflute tray with apithor trap on it.

- felt backed Lino - used felt side up as a top hive Matt- roughed up the felt with a wire brush the SHB legs are clawed and get stuck in it. - chux cloth (be careful with this one you might loose more bees than beetle especially if folded) but a chux under a mesh base works a treat too.

the best and by far aid to defend against hive beetle is a super strong colony, make sure they are well feed plenty of pollen and nectar coming in and a strong queen.

SHB know when a hive is queenless!!!! you can sit and watch them attack one hive out of 10..... because of this fact!

other things to note that you may do inadvertently

- free The beetle - too many constant inspections do just this - let the beetles run free and have their moment.

- put stickies in late afternoon - SHB attack on dusk... the bees can't clean every frame by then.... and stickies are the number one attractant for SHB they can smell it! - put stickies in a Nuc, a swarm or a failing hive and you can almost guarantee a slime out! - manipulate the hive or stress the hive so much by taking too long, moving frames around adding too many new frames, taking all their honey will all cause stress and again SHB can sense and we believe smell stress on a colony.

one final point - "wild" colonies of European honey bees need to be caught and transferred into manageable hives or euthanised - I believe them to be the number one spreader of the beetle as they are unmanaged and I have seen it in every wild bush hive that thet are full of SHB and disease. So as a beekeeper spread the word on this, European honey bees have to be managed in a hive otherwise they are classed as a pest and it's our job to mitigate swarming and to provide accurate information.

heavy that last piece - Respect thy Beetle peops 😂😉


Thanks to Darren and Paddy for sharing some pics of hives lost

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