Small Hive Beetle – Small hive beetle (SBH) or also known as the Aethina tumida is a well-known harmful pest that damages the honey bee hives and the honeycomb, the honey, and the pollen. Infestation of small hive beetles may force the bees to resort in abandoning their hive. The small hive beetle attacks or causes damage only to hives that are already stressed or weak caused by other factors. In healthy hives, worker bees will defend the hive from the small hive beetles, however, once the bees get outnumbered by SHB, the hive will get destroyed quickly.
As long as the bee population is higher or sufficient enough while the small hive beetle population is small, the hive should be okay. Otherwise, the SHB can really negatively impact the hive. Unfortunately, the small hive beetle in both larval & adult stages prey on honeybee eggs and brood.
The feeding habits of SHB larvae can cause visual damage to bee colonies. Small hive beetle larvae go through the honeycomb, producing slime in the combs causing destruction to the honey, however, they don’t always damage the honeycombs.
The adult SHB ruins the honey by defecating in it. In result, it ferments the honey and will no longer be fit for consumption for the bees. The fermentation of honey produces a bad odor which the honeybees do not like.
Adult SHBs can be easily seen during inspections found running underside the cover and on the top bar of the frames. Larvae SHBs are in clusters in the corners of the hive or the frames. Larva that are not in clusters & not scattered are Wax moth larvae, not small hive beetle larvae. Older SHB larvae move near light sources and one way to remove them is placing a light source underneath the hive. It allows them to move closer to the exit and making them fall on the ground the closer they get to the light source.
Sweep the small hive beetles and drown them in soapy water.
– Place the hives wherein they can receive direct sunlight since SHB prefers the shade.
-Make sure the hives and frames are always in top condition. Rotten or holey ones attract SHB.
-The bottom boards need to be cleaned regularly or make use of screen bottom boards to avoid the buildup of debris which would provide the SBH habitat.
Any insecticide might be able to remove the small hive beetles, but it would also affect the bees. The best way so far is to regularly check the hives and keep everything clean and in great condition.