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Small Hive Beetle Facts and Observations




Division of Plant Industry – Apiculture

8995 East Main Street 

Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068-3399



  • Small Hive Beetles (SHB) were named this because in South Africa there is a large hive beetle.
  • Majority of SHB were found to pupate in sandy soil at 1-10 cm (‘/2-4 in) depth and within 30 cm (1 2 in) from the hive entrance.
  • Adults (SHB) are the overwintering stage and can be found in the bee cluster.
  • Adults can survive for up to 5 days without food or water.
  • Mature larvae crawl from the hive and into the soil to pupate.
  • Beekeepers could break the life cycle by moving colonies or by soil treatments.
  • Temperature and humidity are key components regarding the percent of SHB eggs that hatch and adults emerge. (Higher temperatures and humidity result in increased percentages of egg hatch and emergence.)
  • When SHB larval slime trails are observed on hive bodies – colony can be considered as infested.
  • Temperatures determine where you look for the SHB in a colony. (Cooler – top, hot -bottom.)
  • SHB will try to avoid light when looking in a hive.
  • Ground drench works good if hive has one entrance.
  • Larvae are attracted to light in the honey house.
  • Soil around the honey house can be treated for SHB.
  • Research indicated about 80% of the SHB were found under or in close proximity to the hive entrance (less than 30 cm or 1 2 in).
  • No SHB’s were found at 1 80 cm (6 feet) from the hive.


Prepared by: Gordon Rudloff
State Apiarist
Ohio Department of Agriculture

Dr. Jeff Pettis,

USDA Beltsville