Bees vs. beetles: Beekeeper saving hives with new invention

The bee industry is buzzing about a new device designed to save lives in the beehives.

Many beekeepers across the country are losing their bee hives to the small hive beetle, which can overwhelm the beehive by building up a population inside, ultimately destroying the entire colony.

I've had several hives that have been taken over with the hive beetles,” Walter McKay, a beekeeper from Gluckstadt, Miss., told

Mississippi beekeeper and inventor Haynes Haselmaier hopes to stop the destructive beetle with his invention, a gizmo he calls the Beetle Baffle.

"I've just kind of, in a civil way, declared war against the beetles," Haselmaier said.

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The Beetle Baffle is not very complicated. It places a selective barrier between honey bees and their deadly nemesis. Aluminum strips are stapled on top of the bottom board of the bee hive. Bees can then walk over the aluminum strips in both directions, but the beetles cannot. That means the beetles can’t get to the colony where the honey and eggs are located. Haselmaier said this gives the bees a fighting chance against their enemy.

“To make them go away is probably not a reasonable goal, but to get it to a point where they're more reasonably managed is going to make a big difference," he said.

Ben Kern, a member of the Central Mississippi Beekeepers Association has seen financial losses due to the beetle.

"Within the last two years, I've lost 10 of my 20 bee colonies to the small hive beetle. It's a nuance and trouble for the hives especially if the beetles get ahead of the bees. I look forward to using this product, and if this baffle can deter the small hive beetle, it will be a real benefit for us beekeepers," Kern told

The Beetle Baffle sells for $16 each. More information about the invention can be found at