Download video: Small Hive Beetle Eggs - Beekeeping Pests
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Small hive beetle (SHB) larvae can be extremely destructive to a beehive. I've seen what appeared to be strong colonies leveled in less than two weeks. As long as the colony is strong and healthy, they'll police the adult beetles to prevent eggs being laid, and will also clean out SHB eggs that they find in the hive. But if the beetles get the upper hand for some reason, they will quickly make a mess of the hive to the point that the bees can't keep up. Eventually the bees will abscond, and the beetle larvae will finish destroying the nest.
There are several forms of traps on the market to catch and kill the adult beetles. But I've not seen anything designed for the larvae, and it's the larvae that are so destructive. If you do catch a beetle larvae outbreak in the early stages, it is possible to salvage the colony by removing all afflicted combs and replacing with fresh foundation. If you have to do this, keep in mind you should feed the bees sugar water to help them rebuild. Toss the maggot ridden combs in the chicken coop, or if you don't have chickens, freeze the combs solid for 24-36 hours, then place back in a strong hive and the bees will clean it out.
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