Hive Beetle (Aethina tumida)
This little beetle first found in Australia in 2002 can be a right little pest in a beehive if not managed properly.
At Outa The Hive we do not use any poison or even any beetle traps to control this beetle.
We simply manage our hives in such a way that the bees can control this beetle on their own.
In fact, we have found that over the years the bees are getting better at it.
We have found that the two main factors in managing this pest are to keep strong hives (high bee to comb numbers) and maintaining adherence to bee space. Most hives used these days are commercial Langstroth style hives, but even the Warre hives these days have frames .. so in all these hives, we must adhere to the use of the bee space (Read up on Rev LL Langstroth in 1852). If the bee cannot access an area, she cannot protect it.. so get rid of any cover mats and use properly spaced top boards. Same goes for drawn comb. If there are not enough bees to protect drawn comb (ideal spaces for hive beetle to hide in) replace it with foundation or leave the frames out all together.. This is in spring and summer when hive beetle is most aggressive. If a hive swarms.. it is especially at danger of attack from hive beetle…. reduce the hive in size so bees can protect all comb areas and once the new queen is laying and the hive starts to expand again.. only then look at giving the hive more comb to work.
We understand that giving the bees foundation to work means less honey for the season (5 to 8 lots of honey to make one lot of beeswax) BUT… if you look after you bees and the colony.. they will look after you and you will still get your honey.