North Central SARE From the Field Profile
Beekeeper Develops Non-Chemical Product to Protect Hive from Beetles
Integrated Pest Management for Small Hive Beetles
The small hive beetle has the ability to destroy a colony of bees. John Henry Nenninger recognized that the larval stage is the weakest link in a small hive beetle’s lifecycle. He developed a non-chemical product he calls a salt box to stop larvae from reaching suitable soil to pupate.
The salt boxes are placed beneath the hive body boxes so larvae will fall into the salt boxes before reaching the soil. The hives are supported above the boxes using 4 ft. x 4 ft. pressure-treated wood cut to 24-in. lengths. The boxes sit on top of a layer of 30-pound roofing paper.
In 2011, Nenninger divided one test box into 10 sections and ran three tests using 37, 47, and 17 larvae, respectively. No larvae were observed getting through but he couldn’t determine if they had died, were living in the box, or had escaped. In 2012, he suspended the box over a metal tray, making it possible to see larvae drop if they got through. Larvae next to the edges escaped but those placed into the interior sections did not.
He performed four sample tests using sand, topsoil, pea rock covered with rock salt, and topsoil covering the rock and salt combination and determined the latter combination was most effective. Of the 88 small hive beetle larvae used to test this combination in a salt box, zero made it through. Larvae burrowed into the soil quickly then got trapped in the rock and salt layer. Nenninger performed this part of the test three more times, using 72, 77 and 82 small hive beetle larvae. No larvae survived this procedure.
Nenninger determined the salt box method does work on small hive beetle larvae. He is in the process of developing a product he can sell that can help control small hive beetles.
View John's presentation on this project, from the 2012 Farmers Forum, through NCR-SARE's YouTube playlist. Visit www.youtube.com/NCRSAREvideo for this and other videos.
Want more information? See the related SARE grant(s) FNC10-843, Integrated Pest Management for Small Hive Beetles.
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These products were developed with support from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA). Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed within these products do not necessarily reflect the view of the SARE program or the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.