Small Hive Beatle Treatment: Top Methods for Beekeepers

Small hive beetle treatment is essential to maintaining healthy honey bee colonies and ensuring a successful honey harvest. As Apis mellifera, the European honey bee faces numerous challenges in its quest to pollinate plants and produce valuable hive products, hobby beekeepers must understand how to manage pests like small hive beetles effectively.

In this blog post, we will explore various methods of controlling these destructive insects. We’ll discuss mechanical trapping techniques such as hood traps, West traps, and Swiffer sweeper cloths that can help reduce their populations within your hives. Additionally, we’ll delve into baited traps using attractant compounds or repellent substances and homemade recipes that can aid in managing small hive beetle infestations.

Furthermore, you’ll learn about chemical treatments targeting adult SHB populations, like the Checkmite+ application process, and safety precautions when using such treatments. We will cover essential oils, entomopathogenic nematodes, and wintergreen oil application methods for those seeking natural alternatives for small hive beetle treatment options.

Last but not least, proper hive maintenance plays a vital role in preventing infestations; therefore, we will examine hive cleaning procedures, the importance of sunlight exposure for hives’ health, and utilizing chickens or guineas as biological controls against small hive beetles.

The Impact of Small Hive Beetles on Honeybees and Beekeepers

Small hive beetles (Aethina tumida) pose a significant threat to honeybees, particularly the European honey bee (Apis mellifera). These destructive pests can cause extensive damage by consuming honey within the comb, defecating inside it, which leads to fermentation, and eating bees’ larvae. The consequences of these actions are not only felt by hobby beekeepers, but also have a negative impact on both honey production yields and pollination services provided by bees worldwide.

Hive products such as pollen dough or even entire colonies can be ruined due to small hive beetle infestations. These pests are estimated to account for approximately $3 million in damages each year. Furthermore, they can lead to colony collapse events where most worker bees abandon their queen and remaining brood, further exacerbating the decline in honey harvests.

To protect our precious honey bees from this menace, various treatment options are available for controlling small hive beetles. In this article, we will discuss some popular methods hobby beekeepers use along with their differences.

The impact of small hive beetles on honeybees and beekeepers is a significant issue that must be addressed. Mechanical trapping methods offer an effective way to control the population of these pests, allowing beekeepers to keep their hives healthy and productive.

Mechanical Trapping Methods for Small Hive Beetle Control

One popular method for controlling small hive beetles infestations is mechanical trapping. This approach involves using devices that capture adult beetles before they lay eggs within the hive structure, thus preventing further damage to your precious hive products. Some of the most effective traps include:

  • Hood traps: These plastic or metal devices are placed on top of frames inside the beehive and feature small entrances that allow beetles to enter but not escape.
  • West traps: Similar to hood traps, West traps are designed with a one-way entrance system and can be easily installed between frames in an Apis mellifera or European honey bee colony.
  • Swiffer sweeper cloths: Surprisingly, dry sweeping cloths like Swiffer sweepers make excellent beetle-catching tools when draped over hive frames. They also provide added ventilation during summer and winter months, which helps maintain healthy conditions for your beloved honey bees.

In addition to these trapping methods, regular inspection and monitoring of hives will ensure early detection of any potential infestations so you can enjoy a bountiful honey harvest without worrying about pesky invaders ruining it all.

Mechanical trapping methods for small hive beetle control can be a useful tool in managing the population of this pest. However baited traps may prove to be more effective. By utilizing attractant or repellent substances as bait, beekeepers can better target and manage small hive beetle populations with greater precision.

Baited Traps for Managing Small Hive Beetle Populations

Utilizing baited traps is an effective strategy for managing small hive beetle populations. These traps contain either attractant compounds or repellent substances that lure beetles into being captured or deter them from discovering new hives altogether. There are several types of baits available, including:

  • Attractant compound-based baits: Commercially available products like Brawny Dine-A-Maxx use a combination of yeast and pollen dough as an attractant to draw in adult beetles.
  • Repellent substance-based baits: Some beekeepers have successfully used natural ingredients such as diatomaceous earth or boric acid powder inside their traps to repel small hive beetles.
  • Homemade bait recipes: You can easily prepare your own homemade bait by mixing equal parts sugar, water, and vinegar with a few drops of essential oil (such as lemongrass) to create a potent lure for these pests.

To maximize the effectiveness of your chosen bait, place it within specially designed beetle traps that can be installed directly inside the affected colonies. For more information on how to build and install these devices, check out this helpful guide on small hive beetle trapping techniques.

Baited traps are an effective way to manage small hive beetle populations, however, chemical treatments may be necessary for more severe infestations. To address this issue, the next heading will focus on chemical treatments targeting adult SHB populations.

Chemical Treatments Targeting Adult SHB Populations

If you’re dealing with a persistent small hive beetle infestation, chemical treatments such as Checkmite+ can be an effective solution. This product targets adult beetles directly within the affected colonies and has been proven successful when used correctly according to label instructions provided by manufacturers.

Checkmite+ Application Process

  • Remove honey supers from the colony before treatment.
  • Cut open the Checkmite+ sachet and place it on top of the bottom board or inner cover.
  • The treatment should last for about six weeks, after which you’ll need to remove any remaining strips and dispose of them properly.

Safety Precautions When Using Chemical Treatments

To ensure both your safety and that of your honey bees during chemical treatment, follow these guidelines:

  1. Read all labels carefully: Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions before applying any chemicals in your apiary. Misuse may lead to harmful consequences for both humans and bees alike.
  2. Avoid contaminating hive products: Remove honey supers prior to treating with Checkmite+, as this will prevent contamination of harvested honey intended for human consumption or sale.

Remember that while chemical treatments like Checkmite+ can be highly effective against small hive beetles, they should always be used responsibly, following proper guidelines in order to protect our beloved European Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) populations.

Chemical treatments targeting adult SHB populations can be an effective way to control small hive beetle infestations, however, it is important to take the necessary safety precautions when using them. Natural alternatives for controlling small hive beetles offer a more sustainable solution and should also be considered as part of an integrated pest management strategy.

Natural Alternatives for Controlling Small Hive Beetles

For those who prefer organic approaches, natural alternatives like essential oils and entomopathogenic soil-dwelling nematodes can be used to control small hive beetles. Wintergreen oil has demonstrated effectiveness against not only small hive beetles but also other common bee pests when administered properly via two distinct application techniques.

Essential Oils as a Treatment Option

Essential oils such as thyme, lemongrass, and wintergreen have shown promising results in repelling small hive beetles from honeybee colonies. To use these oils effectively, mix them with water or carrier oil (like almond oil) and apply the mixture to the entrance of your hives using a spray bottle or cotton ball.

Entomopathogenic Nematodes for Small Hive Beetle Control

Entomopathogenic nematodes, which are naturally occurring microscopic worms that attack insects like small hive beetles, offer an eco-friendly solution for controlling these pests. Simply apply the nematode-infested solution around your apiary according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Wintergreen Oil Application Methods

  • Drench method: Mix wintergreen oil with water at a ratio of 1:4 and drench the ground surrounding your hives once every few weeks during beetle season.
  • Fumigation method: Place several drops of pure wintergreen oil on cotton balls inside empty tin cans; then place these cans near entrances to affected hives overnight. Remove the cans in the morning to avoid harming your bees.

By using natural alternatives for controlling small hive beetles, hobby beekeepers can reduce the risk of infestations and maintain healthier hives. Additionally, proper hive maintenance and preventative measures are essential in order to avoid future SHB problems.

Hive Maintenance and Preventative Measures Against Infestations

Proper hive maintenance plays a crucial role in preventing small hive beetle infestations from occurring initially. As a beekeeper, you should ensure that hives are kept clean and free of debris while situating them in full sun exposure locations whenever possible since these conditions deter beetle activity overall.

Proper Cleaning Procedures for Hives

To maintain cleanliness within your hives, routinely remove any dead bees or excess wax build-up. This helps to prevent the accumulation of unwanted pests like Aethina tumida. Additionally, inspecting your hives regularly will help you detect early signs of infestation and take necessary action before it escalates.

The Importance of Sunlight Exposure for Hives

Sunlight exposure is essential for honey bees’ health, as well as deterring small hive beetles. Placing your apiary in an area with ample sunlight can significantly reduce the chances of SHB invasion.

Utilizing Chickens and Guineas as Biological Controls

  • Chickens: These birds love to eat insects found around apiaries, including small hive beetles. Allowing chickens to roam near your beehives can provide natural pest control benefits.
  • Guineas: Like chickens, guinea fowl also have a taste for insects such as SHBs; they make excellent allies against potential invasions when allowed access to areas surrounding hives.

FAQs in Relation to Small Hive Beatle Treatment

What treatment is recommended for small hive beetles?

The most effective treatments for small hive beetles include mechanical trapping methods, baited traps, and chemical treatments. Additionally, natural alternatives such as essential oils and entomopathogenic nematodes can be used. It’s important to combine these treatments with proper hive maintenance and preventative measures to ensure long-term control of SHB infestations.

How do you use diatomaceous earth for small hive beetles?

To use diatomaceous earth (DE) against small hive beetles, sprinkle a thin layer of food-grade DE around the base of your beehive or on the bottom board inside the hive. This will help kill any larvae that fall out from the frames by damaging their exoskeletons when they crawl through it. Be cautious not to apply DE directly onto bees or honeycomb areas.

What temperature kills small hive beetles?

Small Hive Beetles are susceptible to extreme temperatures; exposure above 120°F (49°C) for several hours may cause mortality in both adult beetles and larvae. However, using high temperatures as a control method might also harm your bees; therefore, it’s best to rely on other management techniques like trapping or chemical treatments instead.

What is the best small hive beetle bait?

There isn’t one specific “best” bait since different baits work effectively in various situations. Attractant compound-based baits containing apple cider vinegar or yeast mixtures have shown success in luring adult SHBs into traps while repellent substance-based baits using chemicals like coumaphos can deter them from entering hives altogether. #


Small hive beetles can cause significant damage to bee colonies, impacting honeybee offspring and food stores while also contaminating honey. However, there are various treatment options available for hobby beekeepers to combat these pests.

Mechanical traps such as hood traps, West traps, Sonny-Mel traps, and Swiffer sweepers have proven effective in controlling beetle populations. Chemical treatments like Checkmite+ and diatomaceous earth applications can also be used. Environmental adjustments such as full sun exposure and temperature control may deter beetles from infesting hives. Integrated pest management techniques using para-dichlorobenzene, wintergreen oil, and entomopathogenic nematodes can also help control small hive beetle populations.

If you’re a hobby beekeeper looking for small hive beetle treatment options or other helpful resources related to beekeeping, check out Honey Bee Hobbyist’s website for more information!

Beekeeper Paul

Hello there! I'm the beekeeping hobbyist behind I'm fascinated by all things bees and I'm fueled by the honey I get to enjoy from my very own hives.

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