Small Hive Beetle (SHB)

This beetle is attracted to the pheromones sent out from a weak, diseased or queenless hive. Keep your hives from being stressed. Stressed hives attract beetles. Strong hives can deal with the beetle. The DPI have a video on the Small Hive Beetle at: American Foulbrood and Small Hive Beetle in bees – video series (nsw.gov.au) . There are other videos explaining what to do.

The following information and more can be found at the RIRDC site at: 11-122.pdf (agrifutures.com.au).

The following information and more can be found at the RIRDC site at: Small Hive Beetle

  1. Small Hive Beetles are very good flyers.
  2. They have very well-developed pheromone receptors.
  3. They can live outside the hive on pollen or rotting fruit.
  4. They can reproduce on rotting fruit.
  5. One female can lay 300-500 eggs a day for 30-60days.
  6. Beetles attract beetles.
  7. They prefer hives in the shade to hives in full sun.
  8. They are attracted to the stress pheromones of a hive.
  9. They use a hive like a hotel – food, warmth, and shelter.
  10. Nurse bees will feed the SHB in the cells just like they feed a bee.
  11. European bees don’t harass the SHB as much as Africanised bees do.
  12. They can overwinter in a hive at –40ºC.
  13. A strong hive will keep them in check most of the time.
  14. To reproduce in spring or summer, they will go to a weak hive.
  15. In autumn, they go to strong hives to keep warm.
  16. When the SHB eggs hatch and the larvae slime the hive, the bees will abscond.
  17. SHB can’t survive cold temperatures outside the hive.
  18. They can fly in cold temperatures if they have to move

Freezing frames kills both larvae and adults.

Queenlessness will attract beetles, and the presence of a small amount of brood and also pollen encourage beetles to reproduce. Unite colonies if necessary.

Best Management Practice

  1. Keep all hives strong. Don’t try to keep weak hives going.
  2. Make sure hives are in full sun.
  3. Don’t leave deadouts in the bee yard.
  4. Check yards every two weeks.
  5. If a hive dies out and you can’t tell if SHB larvae came out of it and went into the ground, treat the ground around that hive (1metre square).
  6. If you have a lot of SHB in an apiary yard, move it.
  7. Do not make splits in a heavily infested yard.
  8. Do not pull honey from a heavily infested yard.
  9. Do not allow bees to start robbing in a yard.
  10. Keep bottom boards clean. Remove burr comb, brace comb and debris, since they are hiding places for SHB.
  11. Screened bottoms help to keep SHB off the bottom boards, but they make the SHB go up in the hive.
  12. Remove the hive lid and place it upside down on the ground. Place supers on the lid. Work the brood box and return the supers to the hive. The sun will have driven (most) of the SHB down into the lid. Kill them with your hive tool or tap the lid over a bucket of soapy water. The beetles that fall in the soapy water should die.
  13. Keep your hives from being stressed. The pheromones of stressed hives attract beetles.

Use beetle traps to reduce numbers to keep them under control.

Traps containing vegetable oil can be inserted into the entrance of the hive. This means they can be changed often without disturbing the bees, and can be removed quickly and easily when moving hives.

Diatomaceous earth is no longer recommended for use in Beetle Traps.