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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Im in Northern California. One of my strongest hives this year now appears to be quite weak and it might be due to SHB, which I've only had an issue with since last year.

The number of bees in the hive went way down recently (mite levels seem low) and I don't see brood or eggs at the moment. I'm hoping that's just the queen pausing for winter but I'm not sure. No Queen cells that I can see.
What I do see is a strange, white, milky looking substance in a lot of the cells around the pollen and slightly tacky looking cappings. I'll try to attach pics. Does any of this look like small Hive beetles or other pests to you guys? Any thoughts?
Than you. -Julie
 

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What you are seeing on the wax cappings is called "bloom", it is what happens to wax when it's not being attended by the bees.

In the pollen cells, the bees have done their normal procedure of putting a thin layer of honey over the top of the pollen, to act as a preservative. But without bees in attendance, the honey has absorbed moisture, and fermentation has set in, and there is also what looks like a little bit of crystalisation.

None of these things are harmful up to this stage anyway, bees would easily clean that back up if there were enough bees.

What you are seeing is just the symptom of a problem. The actual problem is lack of bees. Not possible to say why that is without seeing the hive or more info, but thinking back over previous seasons did queens normally shut down at this time of year? If you have another hive you could run a test, by putting a brood frame with eggs into the hive and seeing if they raise queen cells, if so, they are queenless. Other possibility, you say mite levels "seem" to be low. Could pay to make certain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks so much! After these pics I consolidated two deeps into one to have less hive for them to manage. I didnt see a queen or eggs, but give is acting normal..calmly going about their business and guarding entrance...just low numbers. (In the past, my queen less hives I've had seem agitated and all over the place)...so I'm hopeful she's there.

I had tested for mites about 5 weeks prior and only had a few...and no obvious signs of deformed wings etc. A week before the pics I did miteaway strips on all 3 of the hives for winter prep.

The difference in this hive was a huge drop in numbers (before treatment) and possibly related...SHB numbers went up. I'd find 5 or so in each inspection. Could that fermentation be from them? I've just applied a new SHB soil treatment around the hives to see if I can get rid of them. I also added a sugar syrup top feed but they seem to be ignoring it. Anything else you recommend?
 

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I don't think what you show in the pics is related to SHB, it looks like what could normally be expected in a somewhat empty hive. Yes I don't think they will touch a top feeder, but something that I do to get them started in a feeder is splash a bit of syrup down the feeder hole onto the cluster, just so they know it's there and go looking for it. Try it, might get lucky :)

Miteaway strips won't kill many mites in such a hive, it works best in hives that are full of bees, and ambient temperatures have to be right also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't think what you show in the pics is related to SHB, it looks like what could normally be expected in a somewhat empty hive. Yes I don't think they will touch a top feeder, but something that I do to get them started in a feeder is splash a bit of syrup down the feeder hole onto the cluster, just so they know it's there and go looking for it. Try it, might get lucky :)

Miteaway strips won't kill many mites in such a hive, it works best in hives that are full of bees, and ambient temperatures have to be right also.
Thanks...I'll try the dribbling of the syrup and pull if they dont take it. Temps were good when I treated...about 75F for a week. I'll do a new mite check to see if it worked
 

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Just combine or move them to a nuc. Not many options this late in the season.

By the way, SHBs/wax moths are symptoms of some other problem which reduced the bee population. So don't blame it on SHB. You really may not have a queen in there in which case, combining is the only option you have at this point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Understood. I know strong hives keep those pests at bay. I was mainly trying to figure out if the white goo/wet cappings were SHBs causing things to ferment...or something else altogether..and if those frames were suitable for freezing and reuse..or if I should toss them
 

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Nothing wrong with these frames.

Google - "small hive beetle damage".
Look at the pictures.
Relax - you don't have any of that mess.
 

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Agreed, those frames can be re used no worries. Just, that pollen could deteriote further during storage so keep them somewhere cool and dry. Keep an eye out for wax moths also, won't be a problem when it's cold but could when things are warmer.
 
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