It was bound to happen. My bees have their first pest!
Luckily, it’s just about the mildest pest you could have–the small hive beetle. Because I’m inexperienced and a bit overanxious, I’m going to treat them ASAP. A strong hive can manage beetles on its own, but I have a feeling my girls aren’t so strong just yet. And I don’t want beetles and all their mess laying eggs in my combs. Gross and…gross.
I was given a slew of treatment options by the kind folks of NABA during my intro to beekeeping course. I’m going to go with what is most convenient, a grease patty of Crisco and eucalyptus oil on wax paper. Apparently, these beetles are suckers for the Crisco, and the eucalyptus knocks ’em dead. Here’s the recipe:
Mix 10 to 12 drops of eucalyptus oil (use 100% pure eucalyptus; I found mine at Whole Body) with 1 cup of vegetable shortening. Stir in 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar. Make the mixture into a small patty (I just smeared mine on a square of waxed paper). Place on top of the frames. This recipe makes enough for several treatments. Be careful with eucalyptus oil! Wear gloves or mix carefully so as not to get it on your skin, and, duh, keep away from kids and pets.
Here’s what one of the nasty buggers looks like: