I know many use black soldier fly to feed chicken, and I was wondering if I could use chickens kept in a large run that enclosed my beehives to eat small hive beetle larva that exits my hives - it seems like they would love the protein, as well as ensure less beetles climbed back into my hives.
Does anyone have any experience or any thoughts?
are small hive beetles a problem for you, or is this some preemptive research? another way to control them is to minimize disturbance to your hives. small hive beetles are attracted by alarm pheromones that honey bees release when hives are opened. disturbing the atmosphere of a hive also reduces the colony's capacity to control pests and otherwise maintain its health.
Emile Warren wrote:A gentleman beekeeper in Florida lets banties run his apiary just to eat the hive beetle larva in the ground around the hives. I remember him talking about how deep the bantams scratch into the sand around the hives that he has to back fill holes.
I'm surprised, but that's good to hear.
Valerie Dawnstar wrote:I would be concerned with the chickens eating the bees. Might not be an issue if the entrance was up out of their reach.
earlier this year, I saw a whole bunch of honeybees gathered in a chicken feeder apparently collecting the feed. the chickens weren't pleased with the intrusion, but they didn't eat any bees.
Probably. It seems like foraging is a skill bred out of a lot of them, although being raised by a hen instead of an incubator makes a huge difference too. I think it's a learned behavior as well. For instance, it took a couple years for mine to figure out mice were edible, but then I hatched a handful of relatively fierce roos and once the others saw them eat a mouse, the mice were no longer safe. I'd be inclined to put them in there, but keep an eye on them. Having them clean up parasites and stuff is a good idea, but it's not that big a jump from eating dead bees and larvae on the ground to eating live bees.
Do you think it could depend on the chicken breed? Some being more insect aggressive than others?