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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    South Alabama
    Posts
    18

    Default Lost hive to SHB, now what?

    My strongest hive has been completely taken over by SHB--just discovered it Thursday, but am out of town until Monday, so can't deal with it until then. This hive had been in this place for 2 years, last year had a few SHB but nothing serious. I had 3 medium supers with one hive body, and it looks like larvae everywhere. I have had smaller collections of bees, usually queenless, that got overrun with SHB, but never a strong hive. In fact, I just looked at them a week ago, and didn't think much of the number of beetles that I saw. I probably had about 60 pounds of honey in that hive. I took about 6 frames out that didn't seem too ruined and put them in the freezer. The rest of the frames that I removed went into chlorox water. My question is, what do I do with the frames with honey that went into the clorox water...can I rinse it off and feed it back to other bees. And is the honey in the freezer salvageable?? I know one thing, all of my hives are going to have West Beetle traps in the future--it just happened so suddenly!!
    Jon Yoder

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default

    it would be intesting if you could do a post morteum on the hive from top to bottom...

    first I would suggest to you the the shb is simply a scavanger that is taking advantage of opportunity. I suggest the post morteum simply because I have similar experience... here let me describe it to ya': I find on some fairly strong hives, ususally 2 years old or older, that in late summer the bottom box becomes plugged with pollen (which the girls evidently don't denfend like brood or honey), the brood nest moves upward (typically into the second and third box), the shb gets established at the very bottom of the box and push the hive right out the top of the box. at some stage it appears (there may be brood remaining at this point in time) like the hive simply abdoned the nest and there may be a bit of casual robbing taking place. most times, even if I catch it quite late, there is still evidence of quite a bit of pollen in the frames of the bottom box.

    as to the honey plus clorox I would air it out and feed it back to the bees. most times in regards to salvaging frames the freezer is your best and quickest remedy.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Texarkana, TX
    Posts
    166

    Default Beetles

    Howdy Jon --

    Chlorox kills larvae slowly, but after it kills all or most of them, spray with garden hose
    and water to remove dead culprits, slime, and chemical. Then the bees can use trhe honey fine. The same rinsing of frozen frames will also remove the larvae and slime. Fine for bees.
    Doc

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    South Alabama
    Posts
    18

    Default Post mortem

    This hive has now been examined from top to bottom. This is a 1 hive body, 3 super hive that I have had no queen excluder. In fact they had moved up the hive with the brood, so much so that a week before, I had changed the top super with the second, because it had a good bit of brood in it, and most of the brood was then in the 1st and 2nd supers. There was basically nothing in the hive body, except pollen, and no honey, no brood, but many! hive beetles. Those have now all gone to hive beetle heaven, and basically I have sanitized honey back on one super, and sanitized fames back in the hive. However, there is no sign of a queen, so I am probably in trouble with that hive going into the winter this late. There do seem to be a good number of bees left, so we shall see what happens. I do think the problem was likely not having the queen excluder on. I like the theory of not having it there, but I think them moving up may have been the problem.....Anybody have any thoughts? Jon

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default

    a queen excluder would have likely kept them from brooding upwards but it would not have kept them from plugging the bottom box with pollon... which would have highly encouraged the girls to swarm and likely once the hive swarmed and lost substantial field force would have meant the shb would do just what it did without the queen excluder.

    just my take...

    as to the queen, yea or nay.... the hive is likely so demoralized that egg production is entirely ceased. if you have goodly number of bees, feed liberally, give a frame of very young brood (at the center of the new brood nest) and see what happens. if the bee draw a new queen cell the the old queen is caput, if all of a sudden you see new eggs and larvae appearing you know that the old queen is still present.

    at your location you still have plenty of time to salvage the hive. you will likely need to feed them regularly to keep them alive until spring time.

    if you are experiencing a 'problem' like I have here (described above) then the best remedy if caught early on (hint: the bottom box is very light) is to reverse boxes placing the brood at the bottom and the pollen ladened box above.

    I suspect a significant part of my problem is that the general area here produces a great deal more pollen than nectar.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Macon, GA USA
    Posts
    933

    Default

    I had a similar situation with a strong hive where the queen turned into a drone layer. There were 3 frames that had at least 20 to 30 adult SHB on them. The frames were covered with bees, but they totally ignored the beetles. I looked closely but did not see any SHB larva. Apparently the bees hauled them out. I gently shook the bees off the frames (SHB remained) and gave them new clean frames and a new queen. I never thought about them being "demoralized". But apparently they don't protect empty comb nearly as much as they do comb with brood in it.

    I also wonder if SHB larvae that can get under capped brood undetected by the bees can do a lot of tunnelling and damage large amounts of brood prior to leaving the hive to pupate. Hygeinic bees may haul these larva out and make for a spotty pattern which might appear to the beekeeper to be a failing queen.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default

    ga steve ask:
    I also wonder if SHB larvae that can get under capped brood

    tecumseh replies:
    I don't know the answer to that particular question, but I did decide that split bottom bars in the bottom box was the location where serious shb infestation typically began.

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GaSteve View Post
    I also wonder if SHB larvae that can get under capped brood undetected by the bees can do a lot of tunnelling and damage large amounts of brood prior to leaving the hive to pupate.
    Its my understanding that the female SHB typically oviposits her eggs beneath the cap of a developing bee pupa. Once those eggs hatch the SHB larvae begin feeding on the bee pupa and then continue on a feeding rampage that includes other bee pupae, pollen, honey and pretty near anything else they come across. So, in answer to your question.....YES.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Edgefield County, South Carolina
    Posts
    625

    Sad Your not alone Jon!!!

    Not that being not alone is much support!!! I checked a hive that was strong two weeks ago--- a couple of days ago. Much to my surprise taken over by shb and bees absconded. The hive was a deep with a full super of honey. Their was a significant amount of brood but I did notice the deep was a little honey congested but plenty of brood and eggs.
    I thought they were cutting back on the size of the brood chamber due to the drought we were having. Well beginner mistake I guess!!! I didn't put any empties in because I have had a problem of shb taking over hives with too many empties. Long story short toooooo late .
    Was going to post pics bit I imagine every one has seen it or at least pics by now!!! If anyone wants too see pics let me know. I'll save a few on the camera.
    sc-bee

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