Small Hive Beetles... in Upstate/Central New York
Just posted this in the general beekeeping section, but thought it was important enough to post here as well...
I started a home removal of two colonies from an old farmhouse northwest of Syracuse two weeks ago. In addition to the fee I charged, I wanted the genetics for queen breeding since they were very gentle and had survived years without any kind of treatment or management. Beautiful brood pattern, incredibly gentle (not a single sting during 5 hours of comb removal).
The hives were in the wall of the second story. Removed one colongy two weekends ago and the other last weekend. Cut out all the comb and tied the brood comb in empty frames. Vacuumed up the bees and put them in a hive two-deep which I left on site to get all the foragers. Returned 1 week later and what a mess in the first hive! No living bees. All frames where shiny and slimy (as if they had started to melt). Full of "wax worms" like I've never seen. Hundreds of them in a big mass, but no webbing like wax worms. First thought that came to mind... Small Hive Beetles. I took pictures and collected samples. Emptied the stinking mess in the woods and scraped and power washed all the woodenware and equipment.
Last week I removed the second hive. Repeated the hiving process (tying brood comb into the frames). Was very careful to look for signs of SHB. Had to use 3 deep hive bodies to hold all the bees. Took away 5 buckets of honeycomb. Came back today for the second hive.... only to find a tiny cluster of bees with newly hatched bee larvae and a queen cell (supercedure) in the top box. The rest of the hive was full of SHB! Had to be thousands of wriggling SHB larvae. I dumped all the mess in the woods like the first hive. Left the one top box with the surviving colony. Removed them to an isolation yard and will try to nurse them through the winter. I'll have to report my finding to the bee inspector. Anyone else in Central New York these devils yet?
Full sunlight kills shb larvae in minutes
Please don't do the shb larvae the favor of dumping them in a shady forest. Full, bright, hot sunlight will kill them in minutes - including the larvae and eggs hiding in the comb.