In my last post I promised an update on the Small Hive Beetle, Aethina tumida, (also known as SHB), infestation of our beloved Scar and Mufasa hives. SHB can wreck honeybee hives by damaging comb and spoiling honeystores; they can be the death knell of weak hives. We’ve had more of the SHB making themselves at home in our hives this summer, due (probably) to the wet spring. Bee Daddy and I are attempting to control their population and help our bee-gals gain the upper hand against these noxious creatures by setting non-chemical traps. We checked the hives twice, once in late August and again, two weeks ago, and the Beetle Bee Gone traps continue to do what they’re supposed to do–trap beetles. Yay!
Scar, the weaker of our two hives, had very few beetles at last check–which is excellent. Mufasa, though stronger, still had more beetles than I’d prefer, but significantly fewer than at the beginning of summer.
We’re doing our part and the honeys are doing their part. Just as we were preparing to open up the hives, these girls were cleaning out the bee ‘hood. They were removing some of the fuzz, beetles entrapped, from the hive. I smoked the bees, then pulled out the material so the girls could put their efforts toward more important work.
Hmmm. I wonder if I could get them to clean my house?
Both hives also had capped and uncapped brood and Mufasa was so flush with full honeycomb that we harvested one comb, though I haven’t had time to squish and drip the golden glory into bottles. I’m guessing this haul is worth about 24-32 ounces.
Once our autumn blooming season kicks into gear, the bees will be in honey flow mode and more of the gorgeous goo will be made for winter storage.
We’ll pull some off for ourselves, leaving the bulk of honey for the bees to nosh during the cold and the dark of winter. Not that it gets that cold and dark in Central Texas, but yeah, we do have winter!
All good news on the honeybee front for now! I will check the hives again soon, but am confident that the SHB have declined and are no longer threatening our darling girls.