I went out to check on my bees and they were gone. There were larva crawing everywhere I don't know if this is hive beetles or moth larva. Is there anything I can do to save the equipment? This is a first year hive I just got the package in May. Thanks
Sounds like hive beetles to me. The bees will not tolerate the fermented, nasty honey and pollen and will abscond. Do you have gobs of the larva in the bottom of the hive and large areas of comb crawling with them? If you can take pictures we could probably ID them for sure. Put the frames in a plastic bag and freeze them for a couple days to kill the larva.
First off,dont give up. Learn from your mistakes. I lost a hive to shb and wax moth last year. My problem,gave them too much room. Bees couldnt take care of them(get rid of them). I dont know your circumstance and dont have enough knowledge to really tell you why you had wax moth,but SHB were tough here last year. If you are using wax,get rid of it. Burn it. Save your frames and just clean them off. If your using plastic,do as the others say. Sorry,next year will be better. Peace Dave
SHB are really bad here in steamy Orlando. I've lost quite a few hives to SHB.
First off rest assured the bees are not dead. They left to better digs elsewhere.
Second, the SHB collapse can happen remarkably fast. They can look ok one day and you go back like 4 or 5 days later and they are gone. So don't feel too bad about missing the signs, it happens really quick.
Third..... Don't throw away the drawn comb. It can be repaired. It is quite true that the slime is intolerable to the bees. If you give them the combs back without getting it off they simply won't touch them. Here is how I recondition them. I take the whole brood chamber and put it in a plastic bag and stick it in my chest freezer. (If you don't have room, break it up into frames in individual plastic bags and freeze them.) After they've frozen for at least a full 24 hours (more is fine).
I take them out and soak them in a utility tub of heavily chlorinated water. Standard home bleach is the stuff. Do not use a scented one, just plain bleach. I just kinda eyeball it, but I'll guess it is like 4 cups of bleach in 10 gallons of water.
I like to rinse them off with a garden hose using the water can sprinkler kind of setting. Spray off as much dead larvae and debris as you can. Use enough pressure to clean it without damaging the combs. If any honey remains, use your cappings scratcher to open the cells and rinse the nasty slimed honey away. Clean as best you can, then soak in the chlorinated water for an hour (or two or 4, whatever works for you). Once done soaking take them out and rinse off really really well. Shake the water off and let them dry before putting back in box. Once dry, store for reuse as you would any other drawn combs. If you get all the pollen out of the cells and everything is clean and dry the SHB won't touch it. The brood combs will still be attractive to wax moths however.
The combs will be nice and clean and all the slime will be gone. Any residual smell of chlorine will evaporate off as the frames dry.
I know it is an ugly mess and it doesn't seem worth the effort, but next spring when you hive a swarm on those frames you will agree it was worth it.
Troy has the answer! We had a bad infestation in stored combs a couple months ago and treated them as he does with chlorine water then froze for 2 days. But, we also tried just freezing them for 48 hours and putting them back on the hives. That worked too, for the combs that did not have a real bad larva infestation yet. If you have fermented honey and SHB slime on them the bees will not touch them so clean them good! Get rid of ALL the honey!
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