Submitted to: The Speedy Bee
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: May 30, 2000
Publication Date: N/A
The small hive beetle is a new pest to beekeepers in the United States. First identified in 1998 from honey bee colonies in Florida, small hive beetles have now spread to 13 states, and beekeepers are being forced to learn about and combat yet another bee management problem. It has become quite clear that honey awaiting extraction can be subject to small hive beetle attack and beetle problems can develop rapidly in the honey house. If honey is held for more than five days, larval development - and damage to the honey - is likely, especially if pollen and/or brood are present in combs. At the Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland we believe we have found a simple technique to reduce or eliminate beetle damage to stored honey awaiting extraction. During our studies on the basic biology of small hive beetles, we observed that beetle eggs did not hatch when the relative humidity was below 50%. While this observation did not seem to be euseful in controlling beetles in the apiary, it did seem to hold promise i the honey house. Subsequently, we have tested - and are confident - that it is possible to reduce or eliminate beetle damage in stored honey by simply circulating air through the supers. Trials were conducted in Florida to test our ideas about protecting honey from beetle damage. The results were dramatic. The movement of air down through stored honey resulted in complete or nearly complete protection from small hive beetle damage. The use of circulating air across stored honey prior to extraction provides the beekeeper with an inexpensive and chemical-free method to protect honey from small hive beetle damage.