Why we trap small hive beetles

This has got to be the most foul, foul thing you have ever seen. If it is not, I am very sorry.

I can hardly believe this took a week. I think it takes 23 days or so for the larvae to hatch so the hive can look fine until what seems to be the last minute but in actuality, the hive is NOT okay.

Fair warning: the end is vile.

Small hive beetle devastation



  1. I realize that some remedies are not expedient for commercial beekeepers due to the expense and logistics. I’m a backyard beekeeper, so am working at this from a different situation so bear with me.

    I lost four hives last week and it TOOK a week to clean up the mess with a power washer and bleach. My one remaining hive has a queen, a new hive and frames, and is starting over in JULY for goodness sake. Recently they discovered the small hive beetle on yet another Hawaiian island. BUT people are working on solutions and inventions to contain the problem. I ordered some predatory nematodes for the soil under my hive area, and dusted with the varroa mite remedy powdered sugar, which angers the bees to chase beetles also. Some of my other solutions, born of observation of what was left:

    • The issue with predatory nematodes is that they only effect the larvae. If there are larvae in the soil then your hives are gone, as you know. For someone like me, to whom “the sliming” hasn’t occurred, the nematodes aren’t effective. Personally, I found the Freeman trap to be the most effective with the least effect on the bees. The trap killed a lot of beetles before they had a chance to lay eggs. I have also tried the Beetle Blasters and though I figured out how to handle them, I don’t like them and I can still easily spill the oil, killing the queen and brood in the process.
      One very clear attraction for the beetles was the pollen patty. I found larvae in a patty that was too large for the bees to consume in a few days. I now only give them a 1/2 pollen patty (if I give them one at all) and that’s for a very big hive, this allows the patty to be consumed before hive beetles lay their eggs in it.

      The mess the hive beetles leave is incredible, I’m very sorry you had to deal with that. I sincerely hope I don’t have to deal with the slime someday. Thanks for commenting.

      • I agree. I ordered the nematodes so that I could head off more coming back in future years though. And although i just ordered the Freeman trap, he convinced me in his articles and again on the phone that none of the hives he had put the trap on had been lost due to beetles. On pollen patties, I had the same experience last winter. The beetles loved them so much. I’ll try your idea on that.

        NOTE: a lot of the articles on small hive beetles say to keep at least an 80 percent density of bees on all frames, and that like in my case, when I added those extra empty supers and left on vacation, it allowed the harassed and trapped beetles to escape from the bees and lay a bunch of eggs on the honey. Basically it gave the beetles space to run without being caught. I could see that was true after it had happened, and me and my hub are designing a solution for that. I’ll let you know later if it works.

        We did finish with the nasty part of cleaning up. But I need to add, I found a bunch of larvae hiding in the inner edges of each frame after we scraped them down. In the cracks at the bottom and top where the plastic foundation is inserted into the frame. This was part of what I caulked with hot glue so that it was no longer open. It does, however, make it so that you can’t remove the plastic any more. But what do I care? Nobody is hiding in THERE anymore (grin)

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