So last Tuesday we discovered small hive beetles in Annabelle. After some high intensity fretting, on Thursday we made a trap from a thin DVD jewel case by using a Dremel tool with abrasive disk to remove the clear tabs that hold the case snapped shut, thus providing two entrances big enough for the little pests but too small for the bees. We used the first bait recipe we found: 1/4 cup soy flour, 2 tablespoons of boric acid, 3 tablespoons of peanut oil, and 1/8 of cup of water.
The hardest part was finding boric acid. We ancients remember it being available in pharmacies for eyewash but those days are as long gone as rotary phones, whipping cream without carrageenan, and good manners among the young*. We had to get Roach Prufe at the hardware store. We had some misgivings that we were putting insecticide inside a hive full of bees but that particular product is overwhelmingly just boric acid and the rest inactive ingredients.
Applying some bait to the interior of the trap, we taped it shut to prevent accidental opening, and placed it, clear side down, in Annabelle’s feeding chamber close to and with an opening aimed at the follower board. The beetles could thus make it into the trap without harassment by the bees. We later made a second trap which we placed on top of the top-bars in front of the follower board, where we had previously seen others of the invaders diving for cover.
After this we took a look at Beatrix and found that she too was being visited by the beetles although there were only a few seen. We debated moving the second trap to her or making more traps but decided to wait until we could judge their efficacy in Annabelle.
Checking the next morning that efficacy seemed depressingly little as the beetle count seemed unaffected. Then life kept us from visiting the hives until today. Removing Annabelle’s roof and pulling back the cloth we saw a few beetle corpses on top of the top-bars. Opening up the feeding chamber we saw a mere half dozen beetles (which we crushed) corraled under the baggie of syrup and none crawling out from under the follower. Perhaps we had simply not given the traps adequate time? Thus encouraged we moved the second trap to Beatrix’s feeding chamber and observed that her baggie was quite flat. She seems to consume syrup much faster than Annabelle yet build comb somewhat less rapidly. We have no idea what that may mean other than that each colony is different and we should make more syrup.
* Actually we do know many well-mannered young people but we could not resist making such a stereotypical old geezer complaint.