Need guidance on trying to save hive in SC
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  1. #1

    Default Need guidance on trying to save hive in SC

    To sum it up, I have 1 hive left after losing the other in my yard a couple months ago. It threw a large swarm, the remaining bees got too low and I lost the hive to SHB. I froze all the frames and treated the ground with gardstar, covered with a tarp for a few weeks to prevent other bees from getting to the poison (just my quirk). The other hive seemed fine for a while but recently I realized it was queenless when I pulled my honey super. No brood or eggs at all. I saw probably 100 SHB and killed them. I froze the honey and I bought a queen and placed her in last Saturday. I only saw maybe 15 SHB then and no still larvae at that point. After 3 days I released the queen and she seemed to be accepted fine yesterday. I saw more SHB adults and tried to kill as many as I saw. Unfortunately, in trying to search and destroy beetles, I spilled some uncapped honey out and inadvertently started some robbing activity from I guess some feral swarm living nearby. I closed my entrance down to where only a single row of bees could squeeze through and that seemed to halt the robbing. Today I bought 2 frames of brood with nurse bees and placed them in the hive as well because the hive desperately needs more bees. The major concern I have is that when I pulled the 2 old frames out to replace them with the brood frames, I saw a single SHB larva that was about 4mm long. Of course there are more waiting to be seen and of course, more adult beetles. I froze the 2 removed frames but I'm not sure where to go from here. The hive still has its honey super on. I think i should I remove it and freeze that honey to kill any potential beetle larvae in there but what else should i do? Is it likely too late to save this hive? I'm concerned that if I spend a bunch of time in there tomorrow I'm going to spark more robbing. Any advice is welcomed.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    asheville, north carolina, USA
    Posts
    40

    Default

    You can take that honey off and freeze it only if you have 2 or more frames in your brood chamber that is mostly honey. If you have a small number of bees you probably don't have many foragers and won't until the nurse bees get a little older. It is easier for them to keep shb under control if you have enough bees to cover most of the frames. I had a lot of trouble with shb in the past. Things improved after culling a few frames, reducing the size of some hives to better fit the number of bees in the box and cutting a large tree that shaded the beeyard (shb likes shade). A Freeman oil tray seemed to help too but the beetle blasters didn't kill enough of them fast enough.

  4. #3

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    The bees have been putting up honey in the brood chamber. The brood frames arent fully capped but they all seem to have honey in them to some degree. So can I take the bee's honey super off and then take a few brood frames at a time to freeze? I was told I should take the brood frames and gently wash them one at a time in cold water. That would flush out the SHB larvae and the uncapped honey and also any slime that may be starting. I would have to feed them I was told but they are still trying to bring in nectar from some privet that is blooming.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Grant Co WV
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Need guidance on trying to save hive in SC

    To overcome SHB it is best to crowd the hive. Scary crowder and the bees will have ample forces to bring them in check, and allow the beetle traps to do their Job.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,260

    Default Re: Need guidance on trying to save hive in SC

    It is almost impossible to flush all the live SHB larvae out of the comb since they are in the capped brood. Crowd the bees like RTBBEE said and freeze and then wash a few frames at a time. Make sure your new queen has some clean comb to lay in. The beetle blasters do work if the hive is strong enough for the bees to chase the beetles around. Consider getting some carni bees that jail the SHB in a propolis corral.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  7. #6

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    Thanks for the replies thus far. I really appreciate you all taking the time to try to help me.

    I have taken the 2 frozen frames out and thawed them. I tried rinsing the dead larvae out (I counted 16 dead little buggers) and they did flush out. But, how do I get all the water out? I've slung the frames and shaken the frames and bumped the frames but I think I still have a bit of water in there. Should I be worried that the water in there may mold? I'm planning on going out within the hour to take their honey super away to freeze it and I am going to pull 2 more frames and replace them with the formally frozen ones. I hope I'm not making a big mistake by putting those damp frames in there.

  8. #7

    Default

    JWPalmer, I didnt have any brood at all in the hive until I put the 2 new brood frames in that I purchased yesterday. That's why I was hoping that pulling frames a couple at a time and freezing them would help the bees get a handle on the problem. After not being able to sling all the water out I'm now thinking just freezing them and pulling out the dead larvae with twizzlers may be the way for me to go? I guess it all depends on how many larvae I see after I pull more frames. I'm just hoping that I may be granted a miracle and be able to safe this hive. Crossing my fingers!

  9. #8

    Default

    Well here's my update....I pulled the honey super off and got it in the freezer. Upon opening the hive I only saw a couple adult beetles and killed them. I located the queen and she had moved over to one frame from the 2 purchased frames of brood I put in yesterday. I looked over all the old brood frames and saw only a few tiny larvae on one frame and the trailings from a wax moth larvae on 2 frames. I pulled all that seemed suspicious to me which was 6 frames and I put them in the freezer for overnight. Input the two thawed and rinsed frames in the hive and closed it with 6 frames in there. I plan on putting back four of the frames tomorrow after they thaw.

    I tore the honey super apart and moved the frames one by one to my freezer. Bad news is there were a couple larger wax moth larvae on one frame and older hive beetle larvae on probably 4 frames. They were full sized looking to me. Regardless, they are on their way to a frigid death as I write this.

    The other bad thing is robber bees came back in large numbers to help themselves to the honey super as I was working on getting everything set back up and moved into the freezer. So I closed the entrance reducer til it was open only about 1/4". I dabbed some vicks vaporub on the corners of the hive and under the bottom of the screened board. I also covered the hive over with a wet towel. I hosed the ground where the honey super had been placed. Is there anything else i can do to help dissuade the robbers from coming back? I can put out a couple of older frames of frozen honey that previously were contaminated by beetles. I thought I could put them about 350 yards away from the hive and maybe that would distract the robbers? Or is that a bad idea?

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,260

    Default Re: Need guidance on trying to save hive in SC

    Sounds like you are doing everything possible. The only way to completely stop robbing is to close off the hive being robbed. Reducing the entrance to one bee width will certainly help. When working the hive, or moving frames about, try to keep the hive covered. A heavy cloth or section of corroplast might help.

    When I shake watwr from a frame, I hold it upside down and give it a sharp shake while vertical. The water comes out all at once, along with quite a few beetle/ moth larvae.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  11. #10

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    That's the technique I tried multiple times. Smacking the frame down while upside down and also shaking. I was just worried that the frames might mold if they weren't dry enough.

    There appear to still be some robber bees flying around the outside and scoping for a place to get in. Overall much better than yesterday. I'm holding off til tomorrow to add the frames back. That should go quickly and I will definitely use a covering while I'm working them. I did that yesterday with the hope of controlling the mauraders.

    Thanks again for all the responses. Y'all make a person feel less isolated when a problem occurs.

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