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Beekeeping Hints – Controlling small hive beetles with Beetle Blasters
One of the many and perhaps most annoying pests we beekeepers have to contend with is the small hive beetle. Frankly, you can’t get rid of them, probably second only to mite issues, they’re at the top of the list of parasitic arthropods that beekeepers have to manage.
With this blog, we’ll look at one item – the Beetle Blaster.
Frankly, they’re an incredibly simple device to use. You just fill them about 2/3rds of the way up with vegetable oil and carefully slide them into your hive box in between the frames. Usually one per box of frames is sufficient and you’ll insert one in each box of your hive. I check them periodically when I’m working my hives as they tend to either fill up, solidify with age or in some hives get sealed off by the bees. As they age or fill, simply and carefully remove them from the frame, replace with a new one and throw the old one away.
You need to be careful as the oil inside them is a fluid and will slosh around and spill out if not handled carefully. It’s a very simple clean up if this happens – just wipe it off with a paper towel or napkin and you’re in business.
Be very careful with working with the hives that have blasters installed. Again, the fluid in them can spill out if they’re not carefully handled and get on your bees. This will kill your bees as it coats them in oil and prevents them from breathing or moving. If and when this happens, just remove the dead bees and quickly clean up the mess. Be very careful because if you spill on your queen, you’ve got a more serious problem to deal with. Vegetable oil isn’t a poison per se, but coating a bee with it is potentially deadly to the bee.
Most any 100% vegetable oil will work. I generally use the generic store brand, but if I run out I’ll snag a bottle of whatever the local Tigermart has on the shelf to finish the work I need to get done.
Now, these blaster aren’t the cheapest things around. If you’re a smaller hobbiest buying them a strip at a time is very economical, but if you’re a bigger hobbiest or planning on being a beekeeper for a long time, then I would suggest you get them in case lot of 100. It’s ALOT cheaper. I get mine from Trevor and the folks at Bon Aqua Springs (basprings.com). This isn’t a per se plug for them and I advocate shopping around but I’ve had good luck with them.
I just posted a low budget vid to youtube so you can see the process visually – https://youtu.be/dGKmFG-QoK0
I’m Don Rima and that’s the view From Where I Stand…in the bee yard.