An interesting discussion topic so thanks for posting it Anton and also Laurie for your earlier post on the subject.
Ensystex, the distributor for Apithor, is aware of this fact and also aware that screened bottom boards are available from various hive manufacturers and in some cases are the only hive base option available rather than an option available, e.g.; Flow® Hive and Paradise ® Hive. Ensystex are completing field research for other locations for the Apithor in vented hives but this is still yet to be concluded and as such the jury is still out with regards to the effectiveness of the Apithor for vented based hives in controlling SHB.
By way of background Apithor was developed by NSW DPI and the field hives that they used were all wooden hives with solid bases, so all of the white paper conclusions about their effectiveness is based on the hive having a solid base.
With reference to the earlier post;
“even for solid BB’s the Apithor instructions are to ensure the enclosure sits flat on the bottom board so the SHB hide in the enclosure rather than under it. It could be argued that screened bottom boards make it hard to achieve this as the SHB can duck through the holes to hide under the trap? (conversely on a breezy vented base the enclosure might look even more enticing to a SHB than it would on a flat bottom board?)”
As stated earlier, this is the sole reason and again supports the field work completed by NSW DPI. We must remember that vented/screened bottom boards are a relatively new thing in Australian beekeeping in response to the threat of varroa and as SHB arrived in 2002 the field trials were completed for the most popular hive type at the time in Australia, a timber, solid based hive.
Within the industry, there is a lot of discussion around the shortcomings of any hive base design that allows SHB to walk through and hence escape the attention of the bee colony, but again there are a few beekeepers with mesh bottom boards simply fitting a removable tray underneath the mesh bases to successfully catch the SHB and wax moth larvae for that matter that are chased through the mesh bases and fall into the thin layer of oil within the tray to drown.
Screened bottom boards in hive ‘may’ be a deterrent but I have seen just as many hives of various manufacture with significant SHB in them as the other so again I suspect that there is still some way (field tests) to go before this is proven outright one way or another. I think that its important to remember why the industry has screened bottom boards at all and the answer wasn’t to tackle any problem with SHB but rather Varroa, a completely different pest with very different issues.
Importantly, fipronil was NEVER detected in honey and nor was it ever determined to be detrimental to bees when tested for in the Apithor field trials, had it been then Apithor would never have been commercialised, simple as that. It is obviously a very effective pesticide and where it was used to kill bees it will do so without question. But within the Apithor its safely contained within and this was proven time and time again by NSW DPI in their field trials. (copy attached)
I strongly encourage all beekeepers not rely on the base type alone, screened or solid, to be your management strategy for SHB control as it simply won’t be effective and you will lose your colony.
Lastly, there is a new bait about to be released for the control of SHB based on a pheromone which is highly attractive to SHB and therefore highly effective in the control of SHB. That said again it will be released in a trap as the pheromone bait is just that, a bait to attract SHB to a location where they can be trapped and disposed of.
Watch this space as I will post another discussion post on this forum as soon as its available.
Commercialisation of the SHBT.pdf (1.9 MB)