Beetle Baffle device sets bee industry abuzzPublished 7:00am Tuesday, August 18, 2015
About two years ago, engineer and beekeeper Haynes Haselmaier’s beehives kept failing.
Either the bees would leave or die, his daughter Jennifer Whitfield said.
“It’s known as hive collapse disorder,” she said.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s website, hive collapse disorder occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear, leaving behind the queen, large quantities of food and a few nurse bees to care for the remaining immature bees and queen.
Upon closer observation of his hives, Haselmaier noticed a beetle about the size of a ladybug, Whitfield said. These small hive beetles infiltrate and destroy hives leaving behind slime, she said.
“There’s only one queen bee, but every female beetle is a queen,” Whitfield said. “They kill the bees and eat the honey.”
The beetles originally came from Africa on a trade ship headed to North Carolina in 1996, Whitfield said.
“They just took over hives all over the country,” she said.
In just two days, Haselmaier created a revolutionary solution to the beetle infestation, the Beetle Baffle.
The Beetle Baffle, which is made from recycled aluminum, serves as an inhibitor, Whitfield said. It features beveled edges and is stapled to the bottom board of the hive, she said.
“The beetle’s body is hard and can’t crawl underneath,” Whitfield said. “The bees are flexible and can get in out of the hive easily.”
The Beetle Baffle even works on current infestations, Whitfield said. Once the device is secured, the bees herd the current beetles below the baffle.
After 24 hours, the beetles can be observed crawling around on the ground confused, she said.
The Beetle Baffle has been featured in four major bee publications and the product has been sold in every American state and also Australia, New Zealand and Canada, she said.
The Beetle Baffle is presently manufactured in California, but engineers at the University of Alabama are constructing a triple stage die press, Whitfield said. When the die press is complete, the Beetle Baffle will be produced in Carriere.
The Haselmaier Company, LLC also packages honey made by their bees, Whitfield said. Every member of the family lends a hand, she said, including her three children.
Spacer kits are also available for purchase, she said. Whitfield is the company’s production manager and handles customer service. She, along with her production partner Wynn Hemeter, package the Beetle Baffle, which comes with four strips of aluminum and instructions.
Students from throughout Pearl River County have also paid a visit to the facility to learn about the revolutionary tool, she said.
Whitfield said the great thing about her father’s invention is that it’s safe for the bees.
“There’s no pesticides,” she said. “So, there’s no harm to the bee or honey contamination. I’m proud of my dad for coming up with something and selling it. We are learning as we go and have really pulled together as a family.”
For more information about the Beetle Baffle, visit www.beetlebaffle.com/store and through Facebook at The Beetle Baffle.
Contact staff by phone at 601-337-2337.