PEARL RIVER COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A Pearl River County beekeeper has invented a new product designed to protect honey bees from a major threat. The small hive beetle is destroying honey-comb production for beekeepers all across America, but especially in the Deep South.
Haynes Haselmaier has 11 research hives with about a half million bees on his property in Pearl River County. He says protecting them and the honey they produce from the small hive beetle in a major concern.
"It's a huge issue that's really beginning to lean on everyone across the country," Haselmaier said. "So the spread of the small hive beetle is quickly going to become enemy number one."
He said the damage caused by the beetles is often extensive.
"Hives are being overcome. Those don't have dozens, scores, or hundreds of beetles. In some of those hives, they have thousands of beetles."
So it's financially devastating to the bee keeper. It's a very discouraging, disgusting and disappointing thing to see, and it's enough to cause a young bee keeper to choose to not do this anymore."
Haselmaier invented what he named the Beetle Baffle. He said it prevents the beetles from getting to the sensitive areas of the bee hives.
"We began to develop drawings and looked for a selective barrier, something that bees could cross, but something that beetles could not. We came up with some fairly simple, but precisely manufactured aluminum strips that very effectively, thus far, have proven to keep beetles from coming in," said Haselmaier.
The aluminum strips are stapled to the bottom layers of the prefabricated hives. The strips prevent the destructive beetles from climbing up the corners of the hives and getting to the honey.
"So we tried to create something that's simple, that doesn't involve any kind of chemicals at all, doesn't require any kind of maintenance," said Haselmaier.
Since July, Haselmaier has sold nearly 700 Beetle Baffle kits at $16 each. His anti-beetle product will also be featured in the October issue of Bee Culture Magazine, the nation's most read beekeeper publication.
Haselmaier said interest in his product grows every day. You can learn more online at http://www.beetlebaffle.com/