Bee Pests and Predators
Mice – bees will not want to live in the hive because of the mess the mice will make
- Mouse Guards – can prevent by blocking any hole they might get through, a small hive entrance makes it harder for the mice to get through and easier for the bees to defend, can buy mouse guards, are winter pests, usually apply in August here in the Midwest
Wasps – able to destroy a hive in two days and will eat the bees and the honey.
- Traps – consider wasp traps such as a fatal funnel
- Small Hive Entrance – makes it easier for the bees to defend the hive from wasps
Foxes – can knock over hives
- Straps – can help prevent hives getting knocked over
Badgers – eat bees and honey
Harsh winters – a hive can freeze over during winter and the bees may not survive
- Insulation – It is good to strap and insulate a hive during winter. Hives can be wrapped in insulation. During winter may be able to hear the hive and feel its heat
- Fondant – can feed the bees a winter food or fondant (not a frosting, which can be made out of sugar and water), can also mix lard and pollen substitute and essential oils like lemongrass to keep away the varroa mite or Honey-B-Healthy until it makes a paste and place in hive
- Honey – if possible leave the bees enough honey for the winter, do not over-harvest the honey
Bears – if in your locale
- Powder Sugar Dusting – mesh floors on the bottom of the hive with a tray underneath can help contain the mite as the mites will fall and not be able to re-enter the hive especially if there is a sticky liner to trap them. The top of the hive can be dusted with powdered sugar as this will cause the bees to remove the sugar and the mites. Make sure to use the confectioners white powdered sugar and not the regular granulated sugar. Powdered sugar is not preventative, but works to help eliminate mites if there is an issue. Mites feed on the bee pupae and and enter brood cells filled with food before it is capped with wax.
- Mite Away Quick Strips – nodglobal.com Natures Own Design Apiary Products, chemical treatment
- Essential Oils – certain essential oils repulsive to the varroa mite are garlic oil and lemongrass oil and thyme oil and menthol oil, ‘Honey B Healthy’ can also be used, these are not food grade so may want to avoid eating/harvesting the honey, it will get all over the hive via the bees’ legs
- Oxsalic/formic acid wash – chemical treatment although some argue it is an organic chemical, more toxic to humans, highly effective, Randy Oliver’s (a commercial beekeeper in California, he is not sponsored by companies as of writing this in June 2017 after attending a local beekeeping meeting) website ScientificBeekeeping.com details how to complete a wash, should start in June, can buy supplies at a local Hardware store and add the acid to boiling sugar water and spray on the hive, have not tried this but believer the wash actually goes on the bees, clearly mark solution as toxic or poison in the fridge
- Oxsalic/formic acid vapor – purchase a vaporizer and hook it up to a battery and place the oxalic acid in the vaporizer and put in hive entrance for about a minute while covering the entrance with a towel
- Break Brood Cycle – detailed in book by Mel Disselkoen, OTS Queen Rearing: A Survival Guide for Beekeepers Worldwide, believe it actually recommends removing and replacing queens
- Drone Comb –
- Burr Comb –
Ants – can destroy a hive, in the southern US there are red fire ants that will attack a hive
- Tansy – a plant native to Eurasia that ants do not like
- Cinnamon – make sure not using cinnamon bark around beehive as the bark does not deter the ants
- Moat – or some type of container filled with oil with the hive stand legs placed inside would also deter ants
- Cornmeal – will take about a month to take affect but ants cannot digest it and will take it to their queen and die
Small Hive Beetle –
- Traps – can purchase from a bee supplier, fill with oil and snap the trap in between frames and the bees can chase the beetles into the trap
Skunks – if using a hive stand this usually deters skunks, as it elevates the hive and makes it more difficult for skunks to bother the hive, a three feet hive stand is often recommend to deter animals from beehives, but a foot hive is a good working level height
Birds – will eat the bees, may not want a bird feeder near the bees. Woodpeckers are winter pests.
Racoons – make sure hives have sturdy rocks on their covers to keep the raccoons from removing the cover and raiding the hive
Spiders – I am having issues with spiders eating too many bees, specifically the wolf spider. Many sources just state spiders are a natural part of the ecology of a beehive and help keep away other pests. Spiders may eat some bees but they are helping minimize other pests and inside a tree a hive would have the same insects with them.
- European foulbrood (EFB)
- American foulbrood (AFB) – worst disease for beehives, the hive would smell bad and the brood would look decayed and when a toothpick is placed inside brood comb it comes out gooey. The remedy for a hive non-responsive to treatment is to bury it.
- Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)- probably a combination of pest and diseases and new harsh pesticides, for the mysterious loss of many healthy hives (around 30% of hives) going on now
- Chalkbrood – One product to help elimate AFB, EFB, and KBV and chalkbrood is Caspian Solution (caspianapiaries.com or wellnessplus.com)
- beekeeping classes
- various beekeeping books, to add later