Small hive beetle is extremely common in warm humid coastal areas of Eastern Australia, especially on the coast. It is a small beetle, black in colour, between 5-7mm long. In a moderate to severely infested hive, beetle will be visible as soon as you open the hive. The small beetles can be seen scurrying into the dark. Many beekeepers gain a perverse pleasure in squashing visible beetles with a hive tool.
It is important that you take steps to manage this pest. While the adult beetle is most visible, the larval stage of the life cycle is what you have to worry about. The larvae burrow through comb, eating honey, pollen, and brood. The larvae of the small hive beetle carry a species of yeast which causes honey to ferment, producing a distinctive smell similar to rotten oranges. For this reason, a hive with a heavy small hive beetle infestation is referred to as being 'slimed out'. Heavy beetle infestation can cause the hive to abscond.
HBS recommends that you inspect your hives for beetle regularly. Using a beetle trap at the top of the hive and a mesh base at the bottom is the best strategy for managing this pest.
We stock a wide range of beetle traps, from cheap and cheerful disposable traps, to chemical solutions like Apithor and Topbait.