Hive Beetles Kill My Hives And My Spirit

Some times when I’m dealing with hive beetles, I feel like that scene from Romancing the Stone, when jack is in the shootout at the old bridge, “…I knew I should’ve listened to my mother. I could’ve been a cosmetic surgeon, five hundred thou a year, up to my neck in tits and ass.”

Things were bad

Tuesday, despite not planning on visiting the apiary until Saturday, I felt compelled to go check on hive E5 and see how the beetles were doing. It was bad – beetles were everywhere! So I used my new technique of banging the frames on the lid and squashing the beetles. It took a bit but I got them all out. I then added a frame of brood.

Things got worse

As long as I was there, I thought, I should check on the other weak hives, C1, B1, & A2.

  • Well C1 has made a full recovery. It has a queen now and she is laying.
  • Hive B1, on the other hand, had more beetles than E5. I went frame by frame and killed all the beetles. However, the hive is very weak and I don’t think it will survive this.
  • Hive A2 was the worst of all. It not only had hive beetles but it was also packed with wax moths. I didn’t have anyway of taking the parts home with me, so I squashed what I could, then I dismantled the hive and spread the frames out in the sun. The hive still had a few hundred bees in it but the hive was lost.

Lesson Learned

Hive C1 had eaten all the sugar water I had given it, while hives B1 and A2 had not touched their sugar water. I think the lesson learned here is not to feed a hive without a queen – maybe.

The Breaking Point

Most of my blogs are written in the early hours on Monday mornings. However, I am writing this one on Wednesday because, while this blog is meant to entertain my readers, it is also a journal of my beekeeping experience and I need to remember this day… this is the day I almost gave up!

I’m not being dramatic here… I truly considered throwing in the towel yesterday and just going back to college to finish my degree (something I have put on hold while I devote all my time to bees).

“That which does not kill us makes us strong” but it’s amazing what doesn’t kill us.

26 hives have been reduced to 21 healthy and 2 on life support.

What Now?

Time to pull myself (and my bees) up by the bootstraps! Time to bring a few hives home and start making queens for the upcoming splits.

Today, those two hives on life support will get combined into one hive and I will also shake some other nurse bees in with them to create a builder hive.

I will split hive B4 and bring the queen half home.

Come Monday… We will have queen cells!

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Hang in there mate! Hoping for a speedy recovery of the hives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bryan Layton says:

      Thanks, Martin. I just got back from the apiary and I made a split and am back up to 23 strong hives

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Never. Never. Never give up!” Winston Churchill
    Stay diligent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bryan Layton says:

      “Never give up… never surrender!” Galaxy Quest… thanks, Denise

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haaaaa! I LOVE that movie! One of the first movies I saw in theaters when I was dating the man I later married. Glad to hear you’re a fan!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wayne odom says:

    Tty the beetle buster board, i had the same issues, i now have 8 hives and Beetle Free!- they are expensive- but work. I am in south georgia

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bryan Layton says:

      I may give in and do that.


  4. We use beetle blasters with mixed success. This year, we started making stronger splits and had fewer losses to SHB. I hate those things with a passion!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bryan Layton says:

      No doubt stronger hives fair better but I am devoted to killing every last one of them!


      1. I agree. Before beekeeping, I had never intentionally squished a bug of any kind, but seeing a frame full of SHB larva changed me. I now get great satisfaction squishing beetles, roaches, and wax moths. I’m still working my way up to spiders!

        Liked by 1 person

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