When checking out a couple of dead hives that have full supers above I was taken aback to see SHBs crawling across the top bars. They were sluggish so killing them was easy, but am doubtful they have been wiped out.
My plan was to re-populate these hives with swarms, but have a concern that this may happen too late to protect the combs from being slimed by SHBs starting to breed as the weather warms up. The temperatures here are already mid-60s during the day.
There is no freezer to store frames in or cycle the frames through, and there is pollen scattered amongst some of the honey combs. Bringing the frames inside to warm up prior to extraction could induce egg laying and subsequent sliming, so am very reluctant to go that route yet.
www.ars.usda.gov says that "Temperature significantly influences their developmental period; higher temperatures shorten development to about 23 days, and cooler temperatures extend their development to about 39 days" and "An adult female mated with one male can lay an average of 165 eggs per day at room temperature. Egg-laying increases at higher temperature." The lack of precision does not inspire confidence that the USDA has a handle on these pests.
The best article I found find on SHBs was at http://new.dpi.vic.gov.au/notes/agg/...eekeeping-pest, and although it did not directly address my issues, it sure aggravated my level of concern.
The 2004 IBRA paper by Mürrle and Neumann on SHBs spoke of "All rearing boxes were kept without normal daylight in a dark storeroom at room temperature (18-25 degrees C) and checked every four days for 20 days. Fermented honey was removed from the bottom of the containers to achieve a ‘dry’ rearing approach" (18C=64.5F) and at http://www.texasdrone.com/Beekeeping...ive_beetle.htm it says "Warm temperatures in the 60 degrees F and humidity levels about 50% promote beetle activity at all stages".
These two links confirm that my fears may be well-founded (especially since humidity is well above 50%, we are having light rain).
Placing the supers on top of other hives won't protect the combs because the surviving hives currently have supers above and there won't be enough bees to corral the SHBs in the expanded hives.
Any advice from southern beeks who have had experience dealing with these pests would be appreciated.