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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Menlo Park, CA, USA
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    32

    Default Black stuff on bottom board

    We have two hives, one healthy and one not so.

    Yesterday we noticed that the front left corner of the landing board on our healthy hive had black stuff on it. It looked like the sooty mold that grows under trees that are infested with aphids.

    When we pulled the sticky board from that hive (we're treating for mites), the hive trash on the front left corner of the board was all black too. This is dry black stuff, not wet and sticky.

    We've been seeing alot of hive beetles (killed about 20 in this hive a couple weeks ago), but there were no larvae on the sticky board (the sticky board in the weak hive was literally crawling with SHB larvae. Those larvae are now all dead.)

    If there is a SHB outbreak in the healthy hive, could it cause this black stuff?

    We're reluctant to tear the hive apart to look. The girls seem to have it how they want it for the winter (which is generally mild).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fresno California USA
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    2,479

    Default Shb

    Margaret:

    Just curious, how long have you been seeing beetles? ID for sure?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fresno California USA
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    2,479

    Default Black stuff

    I've seen beetles & larva just a few times but what I noticed was slime. Could it be that you are seeing waxworms? They make " black stuff "

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Erie, PA
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    2,030

    Default

    Is it tiny black pellets, like caterpillar poop? Or fine like mold spores? I assume it's not old black comb wax pieces.
    “The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.” -Henry David Thoreau

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Jenison, MI
    Posts
    1,514

    Default

    It could very well be mold or mildew...if it has been wet out mold will grow anywhere that stays somewhat moist. If it is stationary and not wet or drippy.

    SHB infestations will cause the honey to ferment and stink and that will drip, but that doesn't sound like the black stuff.

    And the weak hive...if your insert was covered with SHB larvae...then I'd say it is in big trouble. Those are probably only a small part of what is in the hive.

    Rick

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Menlo Park, CA, USA
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    32

    Default

    It's not granular. It's more like very fine black dust covering the hive trash.

    We're going to look for slime today. It's still pretty warm here (78 degrees today), but we have had some morning fog.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
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    3,770

    Default

    I would guess mildew.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Menlo Park, CA, USA
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    32

    Default

    Well, we opened up the weak hive that had the gazzilions of hive beetle larvae on the sticky board.

    Only saw 1 hive beetle, and no slime. Very little brood, but lots of empty brood cells. The capped honey ringing the brood cells is covered with the same black moldy looking stuff but the honey is not fermented or stinky.

    The other strong hive has lots of adult beetles, but we didn't see any slime on the few frames we pulled. They've partly filled out comb on the outside frames, but not filled them with much nectar. There is some sort of brownish discoloration on those combs, but it doesn't look like slime.

    We're not sure what to do. We've got a Sonny-Mel trap in the top of both boxes, but so far have only caught one beetle. We've killed more by hand!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fresno California USA
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    2,479

    Default Shb

    Margaret:

    Please you must verify ID. There is one outstanding physical characteristic of the adult small hive beetle. What are you using to identify these beetles you see as SHB?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Fresno California USA
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    Default Shb

    Same is true of SHB larva. What are you using to ID these?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Menlo Park, CA, USA
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    32

    Default Shb

    We have pdf with a photo and a description from the University of Tennessee Ag Extension office. They match exactly.

    I'm sure they are SHB. I would post a photo of the larvae we found, but can't figure out how to do it.

    We do have wax moths too, but so far they are not a serious problem.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Edgefield County, South Carolina
    Posts
    651

    Default

    Often before I see an outbreak of SHB larvae, I notice the brood frames seem to get a wet greasy darker appearance. These frames usually have pollen and it looks wet and sticky (I think a little different than bee bread). Soon to follow I start seeing small larvae in the cells.

    The honey frames usually don't get this greasy appearance, they just slime over.

    These are just personal observations.
    sc-bee

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    El Dorado County, CA
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    605

    Default

    i didn't realize shb was so close to home.
    all that is gold does not glitter

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Fresno California USA
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    Default Beetles

    stan:

    That's why I am so interested in ID

    I wasn't aware they were endemic here. I have had them then they didn't survive. (?)

    Margaret: still asking; there is one peculiar physical characteristic of the SHB which makes it's ID easy and indisputable. Do you know what I'm talking about? Larvae: how do you diff between beetle & moth?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Hessmer, LA, USA
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    28

    Sad

    Margaret, Sure sounds like Wax Worms to me. The fine black powder. I had a few hives put up in the barn for a while and that is exactly what I found. Wax Worms. Ric

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Kennett Square, PA, USA
    Posts
    115

    Default SHB Characteristic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom G. Laury View Post
    Margaret:

    Please you must verify ID. There is one outstanding physical characteristic of the adult small hive beetle. What are you using to identify these beetles you see as SHB?
    What is the one outstanding physical characteristic? I've also seen 2-3 beetles in my hive. Just assumed it was SHB, I am new to beekeeping.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Jenison, MI
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    1,514

    Default

    ***Disclaimer Keep in mind: you are asking a bunch of opinionated beekeepers a question that is very difficult to diagnose without being there/seeing it. Please take all answers with a grain of salt, mine included.

    The problem with SHB is that it only takes a couple of them to lay enough eggs to decimate a weak hive.

    And it sounds like your weak hive is in big trouble, the SHB are opportunists, and are taking advantage of a weak hive. A strong colony can control mildew.

    You didn't mention pollen, although this is usually the first ring around the brood (which was black). This is usually the first place that the beetle larvae will show up. The pollen starts to look funny, and you may see weird strings of beetle poop around this area. The larvae also burrow underneath capped brood where the bees can't get them out.

    If you are seeing a lot of larvae but no webbing such as a moth caterpillar will spin, then likely SHB.

    Rick

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Menlo Park, CA, USA
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    Default

    I wasn't aware they were endemic here. I have had them then they didn't survive. (?)

    Margaret: still asking; there is one peculiar physical characteristic of the SHB which makes it's ID easy and indisputable. Do you know what I'm talking about? Larvae: how do you diff between beetle & moth?
    I don't know where "here" is, but there are several reports of them in the SF Bay Area. When we opened one hive, we found about 15 of them scurrying on the cover, and another 15 or so on the first frame.

    I don't know what else these beetles could be but here is the description from the U of Tennessee.

    Adult beetles are 6 mm (1/4 inch)
    long, dark brown to black, flattened, oval
    to oblong in shape, with the head often
    tucked below the thorax (see figure). If
    the head is in view, the short antennae
    have a conspicuous club on the last
    segment. The larvae are elongate, whitish
    grubs that grow to 11 mm in length. They
    have tapered front and rear ends, and
    rows of small spines on their back.

    The larvae have only 3 legs, and look exactly like the pictures on this website: http://www.invasive.org/browse/subject.cfm?sub=9335

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    27,081

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Margaret Sloan View Post
    We've been seeing alot of hive beetles (killed about 20 in this hive a couple weeks ago), but there were no larvae on the sticky board (the sticky board in the weak hive was literally crawling with SHB larvae. Those larvae are now all dead.)
    SHB in California? And the inspectors make such a fuss about shb that migratory beekeepers have to jump through some labor intensive hoops to gain entry. What level of shb would CA require for the regulations to be relaxed, I wonder?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Kennett Square, PA, USA
    Posts
    115

    Default Thanks for Web Site SHB pictures

    Margaret - thank you for the web reference with the photos. Always a big help to SEE what people are discussing. Hopefully I can take a look in my hive this weekend to see what I have.

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