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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Today was the day for harvesting. Started out at 50 degrees, sunshine and no wind.

Surprise, surprise, hive is infested with hive beetles. First box had 200 or more beetles and thousands of bees chasing them. Box was crammed full of capped honey. Bees were as gentle as one would hope for. Second box was crammed full of honey except for some nectar in the outside frames. I shook the nectar into the next box on the hive as I was going along. Third box was crammed full of honey and a tiny bit of nectar in the outside frames, Hive beetles decreased as I picked boxes off the hive. Fourth box was crammed full of honey and I left it.

It took me two hours to sweep all the bees and hive beetles off the frames before putting them in empty boxes on the tailgate of the truck. They are now in the freezer.

So it appears that my problem of wax moths in August where I lost three hives was not wax moth at all. It was hive beetles. I am now praying for a heavy frost. I am prepared to lose this hive over the winter because I can't imagine it will handle the hive beetle infection. If I wanted to write this hive off now I think I could get two more boxes of honey from it. I have never had so much honey from one hive.

I finished up at 12:30 and it was 55 degrees. The hive was wide open for two solid hours and the bees could have cared less. It was like a summer day for them.
 

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Your story makes me so thankful that I do not have hive beetles here. Varroa mites are bad enough without having to deal with those beetles as well. Sounds like you had a great harvest, congratulations!

Are you going to shake out the bees and take the rest of the honey? Or are you doing to try to deal with the SHB? Or are you going to just let the hive be and see what happens?
 

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That's a lot of beetles, but if the hive doesn't have some other problem (especially queenlessness) I wouldn't write it off at all. They usually are not the only thing involved when a hive goes down.
 

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One hive infested with SHB, practicing non intervention beekeeping, and 9590 posts....makes you wonder.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So, Brian, no open comb, no eggs, larvae, pupae, or capped brood?
After two hours they had enough of me. I broke the fourth box loose to give it a heft and I could see there was more honey below. remember I was bare handed and already took a stink. Very slight though. I wasn't sure I was stung until I saw the stinger sack. It was so mild.

Or are you going to just let the hive be and see what happens?
You can probably guess my answer Ray, but yes.

Your story makes me so thankful that I do not have hive beetles here.
Well normally hive beetles are not a problem in Upstate NY which is why I thought the original problem was wax moth.

Oh and lets give credit where credit is due. Two of these boxes are foundation where the frames only had 3/4 sheets. The bees filled in the other quarter on each end of the foundation. some of the most perfect frames of honey I have gotten. Thank you very much for the idea Lauri. I will make it my standard practice. These were not brood combs these were strictly honey combs.
 

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Brian, I certainly wouldn't write the hive off, I think it has a good chance of making it through the winter, because you have just decreased the amount of area the bees have to control.
 

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Any idea what type of queen from that hive? Is it a carni, russian, italian or ?
 

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After two hours they had enough of me. I broke the fourth box loose to give it a heft and I could see there was more honey below. remember I was bare handed and already took a stink. Very slight though. I wasn't sure I was stung until I saw the stinger sack. It was so mild.
No smoker?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yes, that thought had crossed my mind but I have never seen so many beetles. I think it is uncommon up here.
What I have learned... next time I will not be so lazy. I have the freezer space. I will freeze a box no matter what the infestation is before I put it on a good hive. I never got into open comb so I don't know if varoa is an issue. The bees looked very healthy. This hive has a solid bottom board on it so I can't get a mite fall from it. One concern I have is none of the boxes left on the hive have a hole in it so the only vent I have is the small notch in the inner cover.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
No smoker?
Of course a smoker. I even refilled it with sawdust because it was running out. But here is my question. At 50 degrees the smoke goes straight up. The only effective way of smoking is through the lower entrance. How do you effectively smoke the top of the hive when it is cool outside? If I pumped the smoker too aggressively it just pissed off the bees. It did not make them go down and leave the dripping honey on top of the frames. The only way I got them off the top of the frames was to shave the burr comb full of honey off the top and scrap it off on a 2x4 near by. I had dripping honey all over the place.
 

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Sawdust? Or shavings? How do you light sawdust? And keep it smoldering? And how do you keep it from pouring out the hole?
 

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( This hive has a solid bottom board on it can't get a mite fall from it. )


Ace why not a typical sticky board with a screen on top, on solid bottom board .Buy them from any of the bee supply stores or make them .
 

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I highly recommend a bottom oil trap, such as the freeman beetle trap. The bees chase the SHB -- the ones that fall into the oil trap don't get back up. Even now, it might make a big difference.
 

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I highly recommend that Brian take as much honey as he can from this hive and extract it. There is no way what he has already described will survive the Winter. Considering everything we know about everything at Acebird Apiary.
 

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"It took me two hours to sweep all the bees and hive beetles off the frames before putting them in empty boxes on the tailgate of the truck. They are now in the freezer.""

Why the bees in the freezer, Brian?

We have SHB. I use Beetle Blaster traps which I change every 3 weeks and we can stay on top.

You may find that you need to extract honey a few times during the season.

get a second hive - not all hives are equally affected by SHB

Enjoy the honey and don't give up.
 

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Brian,

For as much advice as you throw out I have to say I'm a little disappointed in your failure to recognize the beginning stages of a SHB infestation. We don't have SHB here in SF but I know enough about it to be alert to the warning signs.
 

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I suspect that next spring you will be calling on the services of a beekeeper who does intervene, to get you stocked with some bees again.
 
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