Folded corners eliminates the need for glue to make the tray liquid tight. And, a cypress face plate that slips over the front of the tray creates a snugger fit to keep the rain and bees out while creating a more rigid tray. A stainless steel pan head screw in the center of the face plate allows the tray to be pulled out with your hive tool. We hope this deters raccoon attacks as well, but we will have to wait and see about that. Thanks to all who contributed suggestions for improving the tray, and keep them coming. We are listening. The picture to the right is the new tray in an unpainted IPK under a hive.
- We tell you how it works with NO poisons
- We show you proof it works
- We show you how to build your own
- We also offer kits, and assembled units
- And, we show you how to use it
The Birth of IPK
My first big disappointment in bee keeping occurred when I opened the top of my new hive, and found I had also adopted a family of small hive beetles along with my bees. I watched forlornly as the bees chased the beetles hopelessly from one corner of the inner top and back again.
The search was on! Surely someone knew how to help these bees and me out. The first step came from Clemson University. Dr. Mike Hood noticed that Small Hive Beetles are poor swimmers and developed a trap that is suspended on one frame using apple cider vinegar or mineral oil as bait and killer. But, I didn’t want to wait until they found the trap because they might be laying eggs all the way there!
The next step in my search came from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm in the form of the whole-hive size “West Beetle Trap”. It had the size I was looking for and used cooking oil as bait and killer. Good. But, my bees are big propolis producers. Sliding a tray of liquid out their front door that they had a week to glue down was not going to be fun for me or them. But, the trail was getting warmer.
The last piece of the puzzle came from Dadant. The “Country Rubes Combo Board” had a screen and the test board could be removed from the back, or the front.
That was it; a tray that slides in from the back of the hive under a screen that covers the whole bottom of the hive. The mesh needed to be large enough so the beetles fall through easily (#6 aluminum or galvanized steel) and too small to admit bees. They can’t swim any better than the beetles. The tray can be filled with cooking oil, cider, or mineral oil.
Now, I love to go visit my small hive beetle friends. I strain them out each day with joy, knowing they died quickly and left no young behind. My bees had been knocking the beetles off the walls and frames all along, but they always climbed right back up. Today, it’s a one way ticket. In fact, the other day I was watching the bees bring in pollen and a small hive beetle landed on the porch, walked in and fell right into the trap. It didn’t even need a tap! Was I proud!
IPK has also killed cockroaches, ants, and small hive beetle larva looking for the ground to pupate, all of which you will see in the following photos. These are untouched photos; only the excess oil was decanted for reuse. I think I am learning about as much about my bees from the contents of the oil, as looking at the frames, or watching their porch! It is a whole new window on the hive.
I poured off the excess oil and photographed the last few ounces and all the solids on a white plate.
We offer a level of service for almost everyone. If you want to make your own tray and find your own mesh, we will give you the measurements we use.
If you want to skip the metal shop, we sell a bare bones kit of just the tray and pre-cut mesh in our “B kit”. That is part A and part B. You will find a list of the wood and hardware you will need to do the rest in the “parts list”.
If you just want to get smiling fast, we sell the IPK ready to paint and swap with your old bottom board. Or, we also sell IPK painted white.
A- Is an aluminum tray. The front side is 1 5/8” tall and all the other sides are 1”. The bottom is 19” by 14 5/8”. Each corner tab is folded from the sides over the front or back, riveted and glued water tight.
B- Is #6 aluminum mesh 19 7/8” x 16 ¼” (as in a standard 10-Frame Langstroth Beehive)
C- Is 19/32” thick plywood 21 3/8” x 16 ¼” (we recommend you give it a coat of exterior primer and at least one coat of your choice of exterior paint)
D- Is One 16 1/4” x 1 ½” x 1 ½” wood (commonly called 2 x 2)
E- Is Two 19 7/8” x 1 ½” x ¾” wood (commonly called 1 x 2)
F- Is One 14 ¾” x 1 ½” x ¾” wood (commonly called 1 x 2)
G- Is Two 19 1/8” x ¾” x 3/4” wood
H- Is One 16 ¼” x ¾” x 3/4” wood
J- Is Eight 5/8” Flat head Phillips screws
K- Is Eight 1 5/8” Flat head Phillips screws
L- Is Two 2” Flat head Phillips screws
To Make an 8 FRAME IPK you just reduce the width of A, B, and C by 2 1/2" and the length of H, F, and D by 2 1/2" also.
1. Staple one short side of mesh to wide side (3/4”) side of Part H. Make sure mesh is flush with edge of wood.
2. Other side after stapling.
3. Lay out 2 E’s in parallel with F inside of them.
4. Set C (plywood base board) on top of E’s and F.
5. Slide one E flush with edge of C and drill a pilot hole with 1/8” bit (that is the only drill bit used in this job, so put away all the other bits to eliminate confusion) as shown above.
6. Screw E to C with screw K. Now move half way down E, check to make sure it is flush with C and drill and screw again. Move down to about 1” from the end of E and drill and screw once again (there is 1 ½” overhang of C, that’s for the porch we will add later).
7. Go to the other side of C and repeat the process of drilling and screwing the other E to the opposite side of C(see next photo). Make sure F fits between the two E’s before you screw the second one down. It will be hard to slide in after the last E is screwed to C. Both E’s get 3 K screws evenly spaced apart.
8. Slide F between the E’s at the end with the 1 ½” overhang, Make sure it is flush with the ends of the E’s and drill and screw about 2” from the edge of C from each side and into F. You will be screwing from the C (plywood side) so if you measure about 2” in from the end and side for each K screw you will hit F. F only needs 2 K screws because it is shorter than the E’s. See photo of back and front of C above.
9. Take D and the 2 L screws and drill and screw D to C while holding it right up against F that you just attached. You now have the pocket for your tray and the porch for the bee landing done. See next photo. If you plan to prime and paint the inside of the IPK you should do it now. After the mesh is attached in the next step, it is hard to paint with a brush.
10. Now, take the screen we attached to H in step one and lay it down on the opposite end of the E’s than F is on. Make sure it is flush with the ends of both E’s and drill a pilot hole through H, and the screen, and into E as shown above. Now take a screw J and screw H to E. Repeat this process on the other end of H with another J screw. Make sure the mesh lines up along the E’s. You can bend it a little from side to side if you need to, to get it square.
11. Take the 2 G’s and lay them over the mesh and E’s on each side. These strips hold down the mesh when we screw them to the E’s the mesh is laying on, and provide our spacing for the bee’s entrance. Butt a G up to H and flush with E and drill and screw as before. Space screws at each end of G and in the center as shown below. Do the same thing to the other G. You’re almost done.
12. Staple the mesh to F right below it at the entrance. With the mesh facing up, slide the short end of the tray into the trap with the opening up. It should slide smoothly and fit snugly with no room for a bee to squeeze into the tray! The tray slides in at the opposite end as the entrance so you are always emptying and filling it from the back of the hive! If you’re quiet, they won’t even know you are there.
How to Use “IPK”
1. The hive tool is perfect for opening the tray. Just slip the corner into any small gap (there shouldn’t be any big ones that bees can get through) and pull slowly so as not to cause the oil to slosh back and forth in the pan.
2. Set down the hive tool and grab the tray with both hands.
3. Holding the tray on each side, slowly pour the oil into a wide mouthed storage container. I take the container back to the house. There, I pour off the excess oil after the pests have settled to the bottom and photograph the remains. I reuse the oil I have poured off to fill the trap on the next visit. You will have to add a little more oil from time to time.
4. Shows me refilling the tray after I have replaced it in the trap most of the way. It is much easier to put the tray in empty and then add the oil. It is not easy to handle when full. You do not need to fill the tray to the top. If there is about an 1/8th of an inch all over the tray bottom, that will do. If your hive stand is too tilted, you may need to shim it back to level to keep the oil from spilling out.
If you do use apple cider vinegar, mineral oil, soapy water or something else that is non-toxic; email us and let us know how it worked.