Small Hive Beetle Survival Guide: How to Protect Your Hive with Beetle Traps

How to Protect Your Hive with Beetle Traps: Small Hive Beetle Survival

Dealing with small hive beetles can be a real headache for any beekeeper. 

These pesky invaders can cause serious damage to your hive if not managed properly. 

But don't worry!

In this guide, we'll explore the best small hive beetle traps and give you practical tips to keep your hive safe.

 Whether you're new to beekeeping or looking to improve your current setup, this guide has got you covered. 

Let's dive in and learn how to protect your hive and keep your bees thriving!

Understanding the Small Hive Beetle

Before you can effectively tackle small hive beetles, it’s important to understand what you’re dealing with. 

Small hive beetles (SHB) are opportunistic pests that can infiltrate your hive and cause significant damage if not controlled. 

Here's a closer look at these tiny troublemakers:

Lifecycle and Behavior:

  • Egg Stage: Female beetles lay their eggs in the cracks and crevices of the hive. These eggs hatch within 2–4 days.
  • Larvae Stage: Once hatched, the larvae feed on honey, pollen, and even bee brood. This feeding can destroy comb, honey stores, and brood.
  • Pupae Stage: After about 10–14 days, the larvae leave the hive to pupate in the soil. They remain in this stage for around 3–6 weeks before emerging as adult beetles.
  • Adult Stage: Adult beetles live up to six months and can reproduce multiple times, laying thousands of eggs during their lifetime.

Why They're a Problem:

  • Honey Contamination: SHB larvae defecate in honey, causing it to ferment and become unsuitable for bees or humans.
  • Hive Stress: The presence of SHB can stress the honey bee colonies, making them more susceptible to other pests and diseases.
  • Population Growth: Small hive beetles reproduce quickly, and an unchecked infestation can rapidly escalate.

Signs of Infestation:

  • Beetles Running on Frames: You may see adult beetles scurrying across the frames when you inspect your hive.
  • Slime: Infested hives may develop a slimy substance on the comb due to the larvae’s feeding and defecation.
  • Unusual Odor: The fermentation of honey caused by SHB can create a distinctive, unpleasant smell.

Types of Small Hive Beetle Traps

1.     Screened Bottom with Oil Pan

One effective small hive beetle trap is the screened bottom with an oil pan. 

This trap is easy to use and highly effective. It sits under your first brood box and catches beetles that fall through the screen.


  • Easy to use and effective.
  • Doesn't require moving during inspections.
  • Catches honey and rainwater.


  • Large and more expensive to ship.
  • Must be removed in colder weather.

Tip: Use canola oil in the pan for an inexpensive and efficient solution. Fill the pan about one-third of the way to create a coating of oil.

2.     Swiffer Sheets

Swiffer sheets are another popular option for beetle traps for beehives

Place an unscented Swiffer sheet under the lid of the hive, and it will trap beetles as they walk on it. 

The bees will chew up the sheet, making it fuzzy and effective at trapping beetles.


  • Easily available at local stores.
  • Effective in trapping beetles.


  • More expensive than other options.
  • Sometimes covered in propolis, making them less effective.

3.     Brawny Dine-A-Max Towels

Similar to Swiffer sheets, Brawny Dine-A-Max towels are another great tool for trapping small hive beetles. Bees chew them up, and beetles get stuck on the fuzzy surface.


  • Cost-effective when bought in bulk.
  • Highly effective.


  • Takes a few days to work.
  • Can get covered in propolis.

4.     Beetle Blasters and Beetle Barns

Beetle blasters and beetle barns are also popular traps. 

Beetle blasters are small, disposable traps filled with oil that you place between the frames. 

Beetle barns use a poison bait to attract and kill beetles.

How it Works:

  • Fill the trap with vegetable oil and place it between the frames.
  • Beetles fall into the oil and drown.


  • Ease of Use: Simple to set up and effective.
  • Disposable: Makes cleanup easy.


  • Leakage: Oil can leak if the trap is mishandled.

5.     Beetle Barns

Beetle barns are a popular and effective option for managing small hive beetles, especially in hives facing severe infestations.

 These traps use bait to attract and kill beetles, providing a robust defense against these persistent pests.

How it Works:

  • Use a poison bait to attract and kill beetles.
  • Place the barn in the hive to lure beetles in.


  • Aggressive Control: Effective for severe infestations.
  • Reusability: Can be reused if handled properly.


  • Handling Poison: Requires careful handling of toxic substances.

How to Start a Bee Farm: Preventing Small Hive Beetle Infestations

Starting a bee farm involves understanding the lifecycle of bees and the pests that threaten them.

Incorporate small hive beetle traps into your beekeeping routine from the beginning to prevent infestations. 

Regular inspections and maintaining a strong, healthy hive are key to keeping beetle populations low.

Benefits of Bees: More Than Just Honey

Bees provide numerous benefits beyond honey production. 

They play a crucial role in pollination, supporting the growth of various crops and contributing to biodiversity. 

By protecting your hive from pests like small hive beetles, you're also safeguarding these essential benefits.

Beetle Trap Attractant: Natural vs. Synthetic

When choosing a bee trap attractant, consider the pros and cons of natural versus synthetic options. 

Natural attractants are generally safer for your bees and the environment, while synthetic attractants can be more potent and effective in severe infestations. 

Whichever you choose, make sure it aligns with your beekeeping practices and goals.

Honey Bee Swarms: What to Do

Honey bee swarms are a natural part of the bees' lifecycle, often occurring when the hive becomes overcrowded. 

During a swarm, bees leave the hive to find a new home, which can leave the original hive vulnerable. 

Using beetle traps for beehives can help protect the remaining hive from small hive beetles during this transition.

Bee Hive Relocation: A Safe Process

Relocating a bee hive can be a complex process, but it's sometimes necessary for the health of your colony. 

When relocating a hive, make sure to incorporate small hive beetle traps to protect your bees during and after the move. 

This ensures the new location remains safe and beetle-free.

Additional Tips for Using Beetle Traps

  • Regular Inspections: Check your traps every one to two weeks to ensure they are effective and clean.
  • Proper Disposal: Dispose of used oil and other trap materials responsibly to avoid environmental contamination.
  • Combined Methods: Use a combination of traps and natural beekeeping practices to maintain a strong defense against small hive beetles.

We Can Offer Solutions to Protect Your Bee Hive

Protecting your hive from small hive beetles is essential for the health and productivity of your bees. 

By understanding the various small hive beetle trap options and how to use them, you can keep your hive thriving. 

For more tips and products to support your beekeeping journey, visit Swarmcommander

We offer a range of solutions to help you maintain a healthy and productive hive.

Frequently Asked Questions About Small Hive Beetle Trap

Q: What is the best small hive beetle trap?

 A: The best trap depends on your specific needs and preferences. Screened bottoms with oil pans, Swiffer sheets, and Brawny Dine-A-Max towels are all effective options.

Q: How often should I check my beetle traps? 

A: Check your beetle traps every one to two weeks to ensure they are clean and effective.

Q: Can I use natural attractants in my beetle traps?

 A: Yes, natural bee attractants are a safe and effective option for trapping small hive beetles.

Q: What should I do if I see a lot of beetles in my hive?

A: If you see a large number of beetles in your hive, it's important to take immediate action by cleaning the hive and using effective beetle traps to control the infestation.


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