A Quick Homemade Tool for A Beetle Battle
Hive Beetles are a pain for many US beekeepers. If you live in the south and have bee hives, you have probably met them. Are you ready for a beetle battle?
Even the most mild mannered, even tempered beekeeper will get a kick out of squishing Small Hive Beetles with their hive tool. The beetle battle has begun.
We know the honey bees do not like the beetles either because they chase the beetles around the hive.
With a lack of a “best” treatment plan for hive beetles. Beekeepers have to sometimes get creative.
Adult Beetles And Larva
The adult beetles begin this bee hive nightmare by flying into the hive and laying eggs. Any colony that may be weak or under populated is unable to chase the beetles or remove eggs and larva. They are unable to fight this beetle battle on their own.
It is the beetle larva that do the actual damage to a bee colony. Read more about Small Hive Beetles – Here.
Preventing Beetle Larva In The Hive
While it is impossible to prevent Small Hive Beetles from flying into the hive. (They are smaller than honey bees) Beekeepers employ various methods of keeping their numbers under control.
From finding the best place and keeping strong colonies to traps, it is a battle each summer. Read more about Small Hive Beetle Treatments – Here.
Battle Beetles With a Pooter
This is seriously silly but it can work. Recently, I tried a new anti-beetle weapon. It is called a “pooter” or aspirator.
I am not kidding – every beekeeper (especially in the south) needs a pooter ! Maybe not the kind of pooter you are thinking about – but a special insect collection device .
You can purchase one or make one yourself using items you may already have at home. Discover Wildlife has a handy instruction sheet here.
I made my own pooter using a plastic honey container, with some screen and aquarium tubing.
Using The Insect Pooter
What might you do with the pooter ? Suck up small hive beetles of course.
One end of the tubing will suck up the beetle, you inhale on the other end of the tube. The beetle should move up the tubing and become stuck in the bottle.
A piece of screen or cheesecloth prevents the beetle from being sucked up into your mouth !
It is vitally important to remember which tube to suck on. Otherwise, you will end up with a hive beetle in your mouth. (Don’t ask). My pooter now has blue tape to mark the suction tube ! 😉
Only a beekeeper can appreciate the crunch of squishing hive beetles with a hive tool. However, sucking them up into this container is almost as good.
Now this may seem rather harsh to new beekeepers but the Small Hive Beetle is very destructive to our honeybee colonies. A large infestation can cause a colony to fail so their numbers must be managed in some way.
Beetle Collection In Late Fall
Small Hive Beetles will survive the winter cold by staying inside with the bees. The poor bees try to chase the beetles but can not sting them due to their hard shell.
Once the weather warms these beetles will lay eggs and hatch into larva. The larva can do great damage to the hive by eating through the comb, pollen, honey and baby bees.
If you are not afraid to look a little silly, spend a few warm Fall afternoons in the bee yard. Using the pooter to suck up beetles that are running around on the comb is quite fun ! It works pretty good !
This process would not be the answer to hive beetle control alone. But it makes me happy to remove a few bee hive beetles in the Fall and early Spring.
Ok, you may choose to call this item by its other name – Insect Aspirator. But honestly, you know that pooter is much more fun !