Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Integrated Pest Management for Small Hive Beetles

SARE Farmer/Rancher Grant

Project number:  FNC10-843 Festus, MO – John Henry Nenninger

Objective: To find a cost efficient and easy-to-implement way for hobby beekeepers to eliminate the small hive beetle without using chemicals.

Results: The main objective is to eliminate the small hive beetle, a major pest of beehives.  This should be achieved by using a “no chemical integrated pest management process” and must be cost efficient and easy to implement for a hobbyist beekeeper.

I wanted to work on a method that will stop small hive beetle larvae from reaching soil, where the larvae will pupate into adult beetles.  The method will suppress the development of adult small hive beetles but won’t eliminate the beetle entirely.  Early in the test it became apparent to me that I needed to find a way to capture the adult small hive beetle inside the hive. I set out to test different types of glue that I could use inside a corrugated piece of cardboard. I found one product that seems to work the best. I am continuing the testing using this glue product.

Through this discovery process, I tested different methods of killing the small hive beetle, including oils, gels, saline solution, and plain water. I had a test site in front of my house on concrete where I dropped the larvae onto a pea rock salt mixture to determine how long it can take the larvae to crawl out of the mixture. I used a new test procedure where I suspended the base 2 feet in the air over a metal sheet pan that catches any of the larvae that make it through the pea rock salt mixture.

I also tested for the surface temperature necessary to kill small hive beetle larvae and adults. I bought a  device that measures the surface temperature of different objects.

Two major components of my study did not develop — the honeybee breeds supplied to me did not produce at the level advertised, and arrangements with landowners for land management were not maintained at levels needed for the honeybee.

My tests led me to new discoveries, and in the future I’m planning to buy different bees and continue these studies.

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