Hello all, well just when you think you have a handle on beekeeping something happens. In my case it is an infestation of Small Hive Beetles (SHB). In the past I might see a couple or so in a hive and did not give them much thought. Well I just lost two hives to the nasty little creatures. I have never seen so many in a hive. They completely took over, ruining the honey and laying eggs in the Honey Bee Brood.
I saw several a couple of weeks ago and bought some beetle traps and I installed them. Obviously too late for a couple of hives. Apparently these hives were a little weak and the bees could not keep up with the infestation. Adding to the confusion Queen's will stop laying eggs when this occurs. I had noticed that there was no eggs, larvae etc. so I re-queened, several times. Little did I realize that the scourge was occurring. There were already queens in the hive, but I just assumed they died and needed new ones. Boy was I wrong.
I suspect that some hives not too far away had southern bees and they flew out to find a new home...that they did. (All my bees wintered over, no southern bees what so ever).
Now, some of this is my own fault. First of all I have always gone by the premise that if there were a lot of bees coming and going, and many were loaded up with pollen that all was right !!!! Wrong !!! When the numbers dwindled and no pollen coming in (Queen less?) I then inspected closer. Also I may have had too many supers on. With declining bee numbers and too many supers on, the hive was not able to chase and control the beetles.
Hopefully this will help other beekeepers to understand the situation and be more vigilant then myself. I asked several "seasoned" beekeepers and they have never seen this happen in Vt. Signs of the times !! Peter.