Damage to colonies and stored honey

Small hive beetle larvae affect combs of stored honey and pollen and will also infest brood combs. During the feeding action by larvae an associated repellent sticky substance is laid down on the combs and this can result in bees abandoning the hive. When honeycombs are removed from colonies, bees then no longer protect the combs allowing larvae to feed uninhibited. The management practice of removing honey and then storing it in warehouses prior to extraction will need to be changed with the introduction of this beetle. Additionally, the handling of wax cappings and honey in areas known to have the small hive beetle will require increased sanitation. Our research has shown that reducing relative humidity below 50% where honey is stored will inhibit SHB eggs from hatching and thus reduce or eliminate larval damage in honey. (USDA/BARC, c. 2001)

The only known chemical treatment is a product called Bayer Bee Strips ™ or CheckMite+™, which contains the organophosphate coumaphos.

Under the Section 18 authority of the EPA, many states have been granted use of these strips for control of varroa mites and small hive beetles. Maryanne Frazier and James Steinhauer in the

News-Small Hive Beetle Pest Sheet state:

The section 18 registration for Bayer Bee Strips is for non-food use. There is no allowance for any coumaphos residue in honey or wax. All surplus honey supers must be removed before treatment and not be replaced until after the treatment has been removed. Coumaphos is in a group of highly toxic materials called organophosphates. The dermal (absorption through the skin) toxicity of coumaphos to mammals is approximately 20 times greater than that of Apistan. It is therefore imperative that beekeepers follow all label instructions, including wearing gloves, when using Bayer Bee Strips

...Under the section 18 registration, the sole distributor of Bayer Bee Strips is Mann Lake Ltd., 501 S First Street, Hackensack, MN 56452-2001, orders 1-800-233-6663, office 218-675-6688. They will be required to keep records of the number of strips sold in each state. (Frazier and Steinhauer, 2000)

Wax Moths

Greater wax moths (Galleria mellonella) are a common pest of honey bees and usually occur on stored honey comb. One simple and effective way to rid a comb of all stages of wax moths is to freeze it. Freezing the comb at 20°F for a minimum of 4.5 hours or 5°F for 2 hours is recommended. After freezing, the comb needs to be stored where no adult wax worm moths can get to it, but the beekeeper will still need to check the comb at least monthly for any signs of reinfestation (Tew, 1997).

Heat can also kill all stages of wax moths. The combs need to be heated to 115°F for 80 minutes or 120° F for 40 minutes, but never hotter than 120°F. Make sure all combs reach the required temperature before starting to time them. Adequate air circulation is important to evenly heat the combs. Remember that combs are softened by high temperatures and may sag and become distorted. Heat treat only combs with no honey in them (Tew, 1997).

A chemical method for control of wax moths is paradichlorobenzene (PDB or mothballs). The treatment procedure is to place 6 tablespoons or 3 ounces of PDG crystals on stacks of 5 supers. The stack should be as air tight as possible, so close all openings and seal the cracks between supers with masking tape. The crystals are placed on a paper positioned on the frame's top bars. More crystals should be added every 2 to 3 weeks. DO NOT use PDB on honeycombs containing honey intended for human use (Tew, 1997).

A Swiss study conducted in 1997 showed that Trichogramma wasps could be used to control wax moths. In the study, five hatches of Trichogramma eggs were released at 3-week intervals during the summer and were effective even under heavy wax moth infestation (Trichogramma wasps are solely egg parasites, meaning that they are ineffective on any stage of wax moths except eggs) (Bollhalder, 1999).

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