The small hive beetle is a small uniform dark brown to black beetle about 5-7mm long with “clubbed” antennae.
The adult beetles are usually found toward the back of the hive on the bottom board, but can often be seen along the frame rests or running along the edges of the inner cover. The females will lay egg masses in protected crevasses in the hive. The larva feed on the honey and pollen. If the infestation is severe enough the bees will abandon the hive.
As they move about the hive they defecate forming a slimy mess which results in the honey fermenting. Once the larva have matured they will leave the hive and burrow into the soil. There they will pupate into adult beetles. Soil conditions and temperature affects their ability to reproduce. The sand loams of southern regions are ideal for the larva once out of the hive, however, winters in the north retard the population growth.
There are only two chemical treatments for hive beetle, Checkmite and GardStar. To treat with Checkmite, a strip is cut in half and then stapled to a piece of corrugated plastic. This is then slipped into the entrance of the hive with the strip facing down. As the bees chase the beetles they seek refuge under the plastic and are exposed to the Checkmite. The second treatment, GardStar, is less likely to contaminate the wax and honey of the bee hive. A solution is mixed and the ground sprayed in a 16”-24” band around the hive(s). When the larva leave the hive to pupate in the soil they are killed by the GardStar.