My dad was a great influence in my life. He was a bivocational Baptist preacher who grew up during the Great Depression. He and his dad were very mechanically minded and innovative people. From 1942 to 1947, there was a sugar shortage in the United States, and sugar was replaced with honey, molasses, and corn sweeteners when available. Because of this, my grandfather and dad began building beehives and selling package bees and queens. At one time, they had over 400 hives and even more nucs. They sold honey locally in South Alabama and bees and queens nationally.
Hearing the stories of managing this many hives intrigued me, and this led me to want to have beehives. I actually have the original honey extractor my grandfather and dad used in the 1940’s (still in excellent working condition).
Janet and I had our first hives in 1975 and have had hives most of the years since. Our daughter used to help me rob the bees.
In recent years, we have lost hives to the small hive beetle (SHB); therefore, I decided to make a concerted effort toward finding ways to mitigate the impact of the growing SHB population. We tried moving the hives to a different location, putting beetle traps under them, and raising them. None of these techniques by themselves represented an effective remedy. We lost two hives to the SHB last year and another early this spring. It's clear that something has to be done.
Based on what I know today, any effective solution will turn out to be a combination of mitigation techniques and beekeeping practices. These include screened bottom boards, oil traps, diatomaceous earth, selective barriers, good housekeeping, sugaring, etc. I believe we will learn to combine these methods in ways that truly make a difference in the problem at hand. The combined efforts of ongoing research and every level of the beekping community are needed to resove the SHB threat.
Come see how the Beetle Baffle can help save your bees from the insidious threat of the small hive beetle.
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