Recently my dad learned that different types of fabrics can be used to trap small hive beetles. These beetles can be a real pain if not controlled because their larvae can tunnel through comb and defecate in honey. Obviously not too enticing for humans or bees to eat! If it gets bad enough the bees will even abandon the hive.
I’m always interested in finding natural ways to keep pests out of the hive, so I googled how to trap hive beetles with cotton. Turns out lots of beekeepers have tried something like this, but the majority of the research and information goes back to several studies that took place in Australia. In those studies, Chux wipes were used to trap beetles.
Chux wipes are essentially Australia’s version of Scotch-Brite wipes. When placed in a bee hive, the bees fluff the cotton in the wipe as they try to remove it from the hive. Small hive beetles then get trapped in that fluff – unable to escape. A few bees may get stuck in the process but overall the results have been pretty positive. One such study was posted inside this article: http://www.actbeekeepers.asn.au/newsletters/nl_pdfs/May_2012.pdf
I bought some Scotch-Brite wipes this past weekend and will put them to the test in my first full March inspection. Hopefully I’ll have good results to post. The beetles were quite a nuisance last year. You can see them sharing comb with the bees on the feature photo on this post. While I don’t think this is going to eradicate the beetles, hopefully it will help me keep them in check – and out of the honey!