How To Catch Small Hive Beetles With A Beetle Jail

How To Catch Small Hive Beetles With A Beetle Jail

Spring is coming up and protecting your honey bee colonies is of utmost importance. One of the pesky pests that should be kept in check is small hive beetles. Honeybees are great at keeping hive beetle numbers down, but sometimes your bees need help. 

The best time to use beetle traps is in spring and early summer to keep beetle populations in check. It is essential to take care of the root problem before it causes irreparable damage to your honeybees. Letting small hive beetle population increase can become more than just a burden for beekeeping.

Using beetle blasters and beetle jails are most common in terms of controlling small hive beetles. Here, we will focus on disposable beetle blasters that are essential for beekeepers during the spring and summer seasons. They work similar to beetle jails but are installed differently to get the best result. 

Learn how to install these traps to protect your colonies.

Spring is coming up and protecting your honey bee colonies is of utmost importance. One of the pesky pests that should be kept in check is small hive beetles. Honeybees are great at keeping hive beetle numbers down, but sometimes your bees need help. 

The best time to use beetle traps is in spring and early summer to keep beetle populations in check. It is essential to take care of the root problem before it causes irreparable damage to your honeybees. Letting small hive beetle population increase can become more than just a burden for beekeeping.

Using beetle blasters and beetle jails are most common in terms of controlling small hive beetles. Here, we will focus on disposable beetle blasters that are essential for beekeepers during the spring and summer seasons. They work similar to beetle jails but are installed differently to get the best result. 

Learn how to install these traps to protect your colonies.

A group of small hive beetles on the inner cover after opening colony

What Do Small Hive Beetles Do?

Small hive beetles pose a mild threat to large honey bee colonies, but they do excessive damage for queen-less hives or colonies that have already been weakened by other factors. These beetles are an invasive type of pests that live on beehives.

If you’ve ever encountered a large number of them, you’ll know just how frustrating they can be. Just to be clear, hive beetles can be an issue for strong and weak colonies, but it is the week colonies that often succumb to the pressure from the beetles. 

A group of small hive beetles on the inner cover after opening colony

What Do Small Hive Beetles Do?

Small hive beetles pose a mild threat to large honey bee colonies, but they do excessive damage for queen-less hives or colonies that have already been weakened by other factors. These beetles are an invasive type of pests that live on beehives.

If you’ve ever encountered a large number of them, you’ll know just how frustrating they can be. Just to be clear, hive beetles can be an issue for strong and weak colonies, but it is the week colonies that often succumb to the pressure from the beetles. 

Small hive beetles hiding next to a queen excluder

High infestations of small hive beetles can present stress to bees because they are able to populate in a short amount of time. These beetles can lay an ample amount of eggs that hatch and develop quickly. Beetles are always looking for an opportunity to lay eggs, but fortunately, bees are able to keep them at bay (most of the time).

Another way that they can threaten the bee colony is the presence of beetle defecation that can cause spoilage of stored honey. In the worst-case scenario, large populations of beetles can even overwhelm strong colonies. You know a colony has been taken over by beetles when you start seeing larva from the beetles crawling around the comb.

Small hive beetles hiding next to a queen excluder

High infestations of small hive beetles can present stress to bees because they are able to populate in a short amount of time. These beetles can lay an ample amount of eggs that hatch and develop quickly. Beetles are always looking for an opportunity to lay eggs, but fortunately, bees are able to keep them at bay (most of the time).

Another way that they can threaten the bee colony is the presence of beetle defecation that can cause spoilage of stored honey. In the worst-case scenario, large populations of beetles can even overwhelm strong colonies. You know a colony has been taken over by beetles when you start seeing larva from the beetles crawling around the comb.

Small hive beetles hiding in the corner

How Are Small Hive Beetles Controlled The Bees?

Honeybees have a natural way of controlling small hive beetles which they will do on their own and is their only defense against beetles. Bees will actively chase and harass beetles so the beetles shelter in corners and cracks inside the beehive to get away from the bees. Bees actively remove any SHB eggs slotted into cracks or crevices within the hive when they can.  

Bees can’t easily pick up a small hive beetle and fly off with it. Beetles are like little tanks and their hard, round shell makes it nearly impossible for the bees to pick them up. Their only defense is to corral them, which is what Beetle Blasters capitalize on.

However, when beetle larvae numbers reach a point that the bees can’t do anything about it, the colony is in trouble. It’s not the adult beetles that cause damage to the colony, it’s actually the larva that creates the most damage. When the small hive beetle larva are crawling through the comb, they leave behind a slime that will ferment and destroy honey. So much so that it will cause any remaining bees to leave. 

Beetles Blasters work by capturing the adult beetles. They don’t work to catch beetle larvae or eggs.

Small hive beetles hiding in the corner

How Are Small Hive Beetles Controlled The Bees?

Honeybees have a natural way of controlling small hive beetles which they will do on their own and is their only defense against beetles. Bees will actively chase and harass beetles so the beetles shelter in corners and cracks inside the beehive to get away from the bees. Bees actively remove any SHB eggs slotted into cracks or crevices within the hive when they can.  

Bees can’t easily pick up a small hive beetle and fly off with it. Beetles are like little tanks and their hard, round shell makes it nearly impossible for the bees to pick them up. Their only defense is to corral them, which is what Beetle Blasters capitalize on.

However, when beetle larvae numbers reach a point that the bees can’t do anything about it, the colony is in trouble. It’s not the adult beetles that cause damage to the colony, it’s actually the larva that creates the most damage. When the small hive beetle larva are crawling through the comb, they leave behind a slime that will ferment and destroy honey. So much so that it will cause any remaining bees to leave. 

Beetles Blasters work by capturing the adult beetles. They don’t work to catch beetle larvae or eggs.

Trampa desechable para escarabajos de colmena pequeña

$1.99 USD

How Do Beetle Blasters Work?

Beetle blasters are simple, yet effective traps that have a black top and a clear plastic bottom. Some beekeepers tend to reuse these disposable traps, but cleaning them can be quite difficult as the top does not open up.

In this case, there are other beetle baitable traps that you can reuse that prove to be more durable and easier to clean. The usage of beetle blasters is one of the most effective ways to keep the population of beetles low. There are a few tools for keeping adult populations down and this is one of the 3 most popular tools. 

Beetle blasters work by successfully trapping beetles into a compartment that prevents them from escaping. These traps have thin slots on their blacktop that have the right size for allowing beetles to enter, yet at the same time prevent bees from entering.

The clear container in the bottom of the trap is where oil or other products sit. Whatever sits there will kill or injure the beetles but must be kept away from the bees. The thin slots in the top keep bees from getting into that part of the trap.

They don’t work as a mousetrap does or roach bait, they work mechanically by taking advantage of the beetle’s tendency to hide. The beetles hide inside of the trap, trying to stay away from the bees. It’s when the beetles are hiding that they come in contact with the oil or other product in the trap and “drown”. Think of these traps like a container of quicksand. They work in a similar way.

Trampa desechable para escarabajos de colmena pequeña

$1.99 USD

How Do Beetle Blasters Work?

Beetle blasters are simple, yet effective traps that have a black top and a clear plastic bottom. Some beekeepers tend to reuse these disposable traps, but cleaning them can be quite difficult as the top does not open up.

In this case, there are other beetle baitable traps that you can reuse that prove to be more durable and easier to clean. The usage of beetle blasters is one of the most effective ways to keep the population of beetles low. There are a few tools for keeping adult populations down and this is one of the 3 most popular tools. 

Beetle blasters work by successfully trapping beetles into a compartment that prevents them from escaping. These traps have thin slots on their blacktop that have the right size for allowing beetles to enter, yet at the same time prevent bees from entering.

The clear container in the bottom of the trap is where oil or other products sit. Whatever sits there will kill or injure the beetles but must be kept away from the bees. The thin slots in the top keep bees from getting into that part of the trap.

They don’t work as a mousetrap does or roach bait, they work mechanically by taking advantage of the beetle’s tendency to hide. The beetles hide inside of the trap, trying to stay away from the bees. It’s when the beetles are hiding that they come in contact with the oil or other product in the trap and “drown”. Think of these traps like a container of quicksand. They work in a similar way.

What Can Be Used In Beetle Blasters?

What Can Be Used In Beetle Blasters?

Beetle blasters are usually filled with cooking oil, diatomaceous earth, or boric acid. Filling the plastic compartment halfway with cooking, mineral, or liquid oil is a popular method for killing the beetles. Using any of the types of oil as we mentioned works well. We always tell people to just get the cheapest oil you can find at the grocery store. You don’t need anything fancy. 

Remember to avoid using too much oil as this type can spill when installing it into the hive. We actually find it easy to fill a bottle with oil and use it to add it to the trap. Just install the trap, then squirt the oil into the trap using the thin nozzle. 

Using diatomaceous earth for the compartment also works. However, it can be harmful when bees physically come into contact with it. Just be sure to use it meticulously so that it can’t spill into an area that bees can get to. Diatomaceous earth works by cutting the beetles and injuring them. It will do the same thing to bees, so extra care must be taken. 

The use of diatomaceous earth won’t trap any of the beetles as they will be able to walk out of the trap, but their life span should be shortened. 

Another option is the use of boric acid. Although boric acid is widely used by those who work in pest control, it really should not be put in a beehive. Especially if honey supers are on the hive. Because of that, we don’t recommend it.

Beetle blasters are usually filled with cooking oil, diatomaceous earth, or boric acid. Filling the plastic compartment halfway with cooking, mineral, or liquid oil is a popular method for killing the beetles. Using any of the types of oil as we mentioned works well. We always tell people to just get the cheapest oil you can find at the grocery store. You don’t need anything fancy. 

Remember to avoid using too much oil as this type can spill when installing it into the hive. We actually find it easy to fill a bottle with oil and use it to add it to the trap. Just install the trap, then squirt the oil into the trap using the thin nozzle. 

Using diatomaceous earth for the compartment also works. However, it can be harmful when bees physically come into contact with it. Just be sure to use it meticulously so that it can’t spill into an area that bees can get to. Diatomaceous earth works by cutting the beetles and injuring them. It will do the same thing to bees, so extra care must be taken. 

The use of diatomaceous earth won’t trap any of the beetles as they will be able to walk out of the trap, but their life span should be shortened. 

Another option is the use of boric acid. Although boric acid is widely used by those who work in pest control, it really should not be put in a beehive. Especially if honey supers are on the hive. Because of that, we don’t recommend it.

Available on Amazon
Available on Amazon
Available on Amazon

Correctly positioned beetle blasters

The Ideal Placement For Beetle Blasters

How you place beetle blasters in the hive will greatly affect the number of small hive beetles you can catch. Trust us, we have worked with these traps for years, and if you don’t install the traps correctly, they won’t work well. 

The beetle blaster traps have two flaps on both of their sides that are designed to hang between two frames. The best area to place these traps are between two outside frames on the top box. Push the traps as close to the edge of the boxes as you can. These traps don’t fit well when placing them between the outside frames and the box, so they must be between two frames.

For the traps to work best, the beetles need to walk over the edges of the trap and down into the slots. If any wax is built on the top bars, scrape it off so the beetles cannot hide under the flaps. If beetles do hide under the edges of the flaps, just use your hive tool to press down on the flaps and crushing any beetles under the flaps.

When installed well, you will be surprised how many beetles will be forced into the traps. Beetles are typically forced into the top 4 and bottom 4 corners of a Langstroth hive. So having a trap in the top corners of the box is the best strategy. These traps won’t fit in the bottom of the hive and placing them in every single box is not very effective and usually isn’t worth the time. 

Correctly positioned beetle blasters

The Ideal Placement For Beetle Blasters

How you place beetle blasters in the hive will greatly affect the number of small hive beetles you can catch. Trust us, we have worked with these traps for years, and if you don’t install the traps correctly, they won’t work well. 

The beetle blaster traps have two flaps on both of their sides that are designed to hang between two frames. The best area to place these traps are between two outside frames on the top box. Push the traps as close to the edge of the boxes as you can. These traps don’t fit well when placing them between the outside frames and the box, so they must be between two frames.

For the traps to work best, the beetles need to walk over the edges of the trap and down into the slots. If any wax is built on the top bars, scrape it off so the beetles cannot hide under the flaps. If beetles do hide under the edges of the flaps, just use your hive tool to press down on the flaps and crushing any beetles under the flaps.

When installed well, you will be surprised how many beetles will be forced into the traps. Beetles are typically forced into the top 4 and bottom 4 corners of a Langstroth hive. So having a trap in the top corners of the box is the best strategy. These traps won’t fit in the bottom of the hive and placing them in every single box is not very effective and usually isn’t worth the time. 

Make The Traps Work Better

Make The Traps Work Better

Now that you’ve determined the best placement of the beetle blasters, you will need to be cautious before placing them in the hive. Look for any comb or propolis on the top bars where you want to place the trap and scrape it off. This will make the trap work better and sit flush against the top bars. 

Any gaps with the beetle blasters can give the beetles a place to hide makes the traps less effective. This is where having good equipment without any cracks makes beekeeping easier. 

Now that you’ve determined the best placement of the beetle blasters, you will need to be cautious before placing them in the hive. Look for any comb or propolis on the top bars where you want to place the trap and scrape it off. This will make the trap work better and sit flush against the top bars. 

Any gaps with the beetle blasters can give the beetles a place to hide makes the traps less effective. This is where having good equipment without any cracks makes beekeeping easier. 

Correctly positioned beetle blasters

Removing The Traps

Over time, the traps will fill up with beetles to the point where they aren’t effective anymore. When this happens, carefully pry up the trap and discard it. These traps are made to be disposable and replaced with another one. It isn’t uncommon to use 2-4 rounds of traps in a single summer. All colonies are different, so this may not be the case everywhere.

Small hive beetle populations drop during the winter and beetles are not as likely to lay eggs during cold weather. Florida and other warm states have an exception, but the beetle population still declines. Because of that, these traps are not as effective during the winter. Bees will also propolis “glue” the traps in and close the gaps as well during the winter. So it’s best to just remove them after cold weather sets in.

The oil in the traps will kill bees just as they do the small hive beetles, so it is important to carefully move the traps as to not spill any of the oil. This is why it’s important to not overfill the traps when installing them.

Correctly positioned beetle blasters

Removing The Traps

Over time, the traps will fill up with beetles to the point where they aren’t effective anymore. When this happens, carefully pry up the trap and discard it. These traps are made to be disposable and replaced with another one. It isn’t uncommon to use 2-4 rounds of traps in a single summer. All colonies are different, so this may not be the case everywhere.

Small hive beetle populations drop during the winter and beetles are not as likely to lay eggs during cold weather. Florida and other warm states have an exception, but the beetle population still declines. Because of that, these traps are not as effective during the winter. Bees will also propolis “glue” the traps in and close the gaps as well during the winter. So it’s best to just remove them after cold weather sets in.

The oil in the traps will kill bees just as they do the small hive beetles, so it is important to carefully move the traps as to not spill any of the oil. This is why it’s important to not overfill the traps when installing them.

What About Other Strategies For Dealing With Small Hive Beetles?

What About Other Strategies For Dealing With Small Hive Beetles?

Not all the products out there for small hive beetles work well. There are some new ones like guardian beetle traps and beetle baffles, but the jury is still out if they will really solve the problem. Just like with all elements of beekeeping, there isn’t one solution that works great for everyone. But there are some that work well for most when used correctly. We have been using beetle blasters and beetle jails for years, and when used correctly, they work great. 

Just a quick note on some of the other products on the market for small hive beetles.

There are these swiffer type sheets that beekeepers have started using as well. They work by getting the hive beetles feet tangled up in the cloth. The jury is still out on them, but they work well for some beekeepers.

Gardstar is what is called a soil drench. The mixture is diluted and sprinkled around the soil of a beehive as a deterrent for small hive beetle. But the issue with this is that it kills the pupa that is trying to grow in the soil around the hive. If there are larva crawling into the soil around your hive, they have come from your hive. If a small hive beetle larva is at the point where they are crawling out of your hive, the hive has been destroyed. It’s a little like installing a safety switch on a saw after you have already cut your finger. Gardstar may help in the future, but probably not. The adult beetles in your hive didn’t come from the soil around the colony, but they actually flew in from the environment.

Nematodes work the same way as gardstar, but are a chemical-free way of drenching the soil to kill the larva. They are microscopic worms that will burrow through the soil and eat the larva.

The tried and true methods for killing small hive beetles are the in-hive oil traps. These can either be hung from the frames like the beetle jail and beetle blaster, or they can be slid under a screened bottom board.

Not all the products out there for small hive beetles work well. There are some new ones like guardian beetle traps and beetle baffles, but the jury is still out if they will really solve the problem. Just like with all elements of beekeeping, there isn’t one solution that works great for everyone. But there are some that work well for most when used correctly. We have been using beetle blasters and beetle jails for years, and when used correctly, they work great. 

Just a quick note on some of the other products on the market for small hive beetles.

There are these swiffer type sheets that beekeepers have started using as well. They work by getting the hive beetles feet tangled up in the cloth. The jury is still out on them, but they work well for some beekeepers.

Gardstar is what is called a soil drench. The mixture is diluted and sprinkled around the soil of a beehive as a deterrent for small hive beetle. But the issue with this is that it kills the pupa that is trying to grow in the soil around the hive. If there are larva crawling into the soil around your hive, they have come from your hive. If a small hive beetle larva is at the point where they are crawling out of your hive, the hive has been destroyed. It’s a little like installing a safety switch on a saw after you have already cut your finger. Gardstar may help in the future, but probably not. The adult beetles in your hive didn’t come from the soil around the colony, but they actually flew in from the environment.

Nematodes work the same way as gardstar, but are a chemical-free way of drenching the soil to kill the larva. They are microscopic worms that will burrow through the soil and eat the larva.

The tried and true methods for killing small hive beetles are the in-hive oil traps. These can either be hung from the frames like the beetle jail and beetle blaster, or they can be slid under a screened bottom board.

Where Do I Get Small Hive Beetle Traps?

Where Do I Get Small Hive Beetle Traps?

So where do I get traps for trapping small hive beetles? I’m going, to be honest here (FYI, I’m always honest), we sell them. We don’t recommend them because we sell them. We sell them because we recommend them. We use the traps ourselves in our own hives and really like them, but have learned the best way to use them and wanted to provide instructions on how to use them well.

You can buy these traps directly from us on our website here, or you can get them from our store in Birmingham, Alabama. 

Or you can buy them from us on Amazon and if you are a prime member, you get them shipped to you for free

So where do I get traps for trapping small hive beetles? I’m going, to be honest here (FYI, I’m always honest), we sell them. We don’t recommend them because we sell them. We sell them because we recommend them. We use the traps ourselves in our own hives and really like them, but have learned the best way to use them and wanted to provide instructions on how to use them well.

You can buy these traps directly from us on our website here, or you can get them from our store in Birmingham, Alabama. 

Or you can buy them from us on Amazon and if you are a prime member, you get them shipped to you for free

0%