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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2 weeks ago, 2 of my hives were pretty strong. Both single deeps, with 9 frames pretty full. I decided to add supers about a week or so ago. I added the supers, with new foundation, to the bottom of the brood box. At the time, i didn't open up the hives and check everything out. However I did see a lot of beetles and tons of beetle larvae. The frames didn't appear "slimed", I assumed the bees were removing them from the comb and dropping them down to the bottom board.

Yesterday I opened the hives and they seemed really week. Almost no honey, no eggs, very little brood. A little capped brood scattered throughout, and maybe 5% of the total comb had open brood. Very disappointing. Tons of beetles but no beetle larvae. I did find the queen in one of the hives (stronger of the 2).

What are my options? Combine the 2 hives? Move to a sunnier spot?


My other hive, started from a very weak nuc is doing great. But it's on my balcony, in a much sunnier spot.
 

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2 weeks ago, 2 of my hives were pretty strong. Both single deeps, with 9 frames pretty full. I decided to add supers about a week or so ago. I added the supers, with new foundation, to the bottom of the brood box. At the time, i didn't open up the hives and check everything out. However I did see a lot of beetles and tons of beetle larvae. The frames didn't appear "slimed", I assumed the bees were removing them from the comb and dropping them down to the bottom board.

Yesterday I opened the hives and they seemed really week. Almost no honey, no eggs, very little brood. A little capped brood scattered throughout, and maybe 5% of the total comb had open brood. Very disappointing. Tons of beetles but no beetle larvae. I did find the queen in one of the hives (stronger of the 2).

What are my options? Combine the 2 hives? Move to a sunnier spot?


My other hive, started from a very weak nuc is doing great. But it's on my balcony, in a much sunnier spot.
If there is enough to save, you drop it down to a 5 frame nuc box. You could also consider putting in CD bait traps for SHBs, I'm comfortable with the one that uses a recipe of borax (or boric acid), pollen sub or soy flour, honey; but some people like to use the fipronil roach paste. Check out youtube for specifics (I don't have it on my channel, but you are welcome to look at those videos also :D )

Beekeepers today live in a different world than just 10-15 years ago before SHBS got so bad. Before it was stack the honey supers to the sky and worry about swarming because they don't have enough space. NOW it's worried they have too much space and the SHBs will take over. It's a teeter totter existence we have now, a balancing act. I wish you luck, SHBS are the devils spawn, where as I look at mites as very minor demon.
 

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SHB will take down a hive faster than anything else I have ever seen. I would not try to keep bees here without oil trays. Trays really work on the beetles and do a great job on the ants too. Twice carpenter ants seemed to be overwhelming one of my hives but disappeared as fast as they came. When I checked, the oil trays were so full of dead ants that it was easier to toss them and start new trays than try to clean up the mess. But there wasn't a single ant inside the hive. Ditto the beetles. Haven't seen a live one so far this year. My hives do sit in full sun.

HTH

Rusty
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, I guess I'll build a couple nuc boxes this weekend and move them. Is it too late in the year to save them? Should I just be feeding as much as possible?
 

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Thanks, I guess I'll build a couple nuc boxes this weekend and move them. Is it too late in the year to save them? Should I just be feeding as much as possible?
My opinion is it's never too late to save them. I've moved hives down to nucs in the middle of winter and gotten them thru here in Missouri.
 

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I added the supers, with new foundation, to the bottom of the brood box.
Are you saying that you added the supers beneath the brood box?
 

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SHBS are the devils spawn, where as I look at mites as very minor demon.
As a new beek started back in april, I will 110% agree with this!!

If the queen and bees are still there, get rid of the slimed frames, clean the box and landing board, and add some fresh frames from some existing hives may save it and keep them from leaving. Since it is still weak may want to have robbing screens handy just in case.

This is why it's said that its best to have 2-3 hives minimum just so resources are avail when needed.
 

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>I did see a lot of beetles and tons of beetle larvae.
When you see larva it is often too late.

Both were strong, from package? Then became weak during a flow and bettles took over?
When did you do you last inpection before the supers, were there beetles?

How many other hives do you have? how are the others doing?

Do you use EOs or HBH?
 

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However I did see a lot of beetles and tons of beetle larvae.
As you now know, that was an opportunity to take corrective action. Adding more space at that time was probably the worse thing you could have done.

I agree that you should drastically reduce the colony size ASAP. You want very high bee density on the frames. You don't need to use 5 frames in the nuc if the bees can't cover them. Feed if needed, which I suspect they'll need, but keep a close eye on them (inspect every other day until you see viable resistance to SHB). I realize that some suggest that inspections give SHB an opportunity to thrive, but in this case you're in survival mode and need to take immediate corrective action if infestation persists. Do not use any type of pollen substitute. Although pollen is needed, I've found that frames with pollen are a huge liability for a small colony. Flush any slimmed frames with water and let air out for a good while before reuse. Again, inspect frequently to make sure SHB are not taking over. Some form of trap may be helpful.
 

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my uncle and his friend just lost two new hives to the darn things. His freinds hive was doing great then dead 5 days later. He set his up next to the infested hive, I begged to move it to my house away from that one and he agreed but 4 days later at which point his hive was toast as well. We are buying beetle baffled and growing the hive very slowly and closely monitored the next time round. now I have 15 drawn frames some with honey in the deep freezer.
 

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What AstroBee said. I am also a believer of as much sun as possible for the hives. Sun, better for the bees worse for the beekeeper.
 

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I try to kill any beetles that I see with my hive tool. I hope that you can salvage the hives by knocking them down to nuc sized colonies. It should work. I had some nucs in August that were bone dry as far as stores last year and I fed them and they made it though winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
When you see larva it is often too late.

Both were strong, from package? Then became weak during a flow and bettles took over?
When did you do you last inpection before the supers, were there beetles?

How many other hives do you have? how are the others doing?

Do you use EOs or HBH?
Both started from packages, both were strong, then the beetles, now they are weak.

When I opened the hive, I thought they had swarmed, but no queen cups, SOME larvae, and I found a queen in one of them.

There are always beetles. When I was installing the packages, I had beetles landing on the outside of the package within minutes of me walking outside.

I have 3 hives total. The 3rd one is doing great.

As you now know, that was an opportunity to take corrective action. Adding more space at that time was probably the worse thing you could have done.

I agree that you should drastically reduce the colony size ASAP. You want very high bee density on the frames. You don't need to use 5 frames in the nuc if the bees can't cover them. Feed if needed, which I suspect they'll need, but keep a close eye on them (inspect every other day until you see viable resistance to SHB). I realize that some suggest that inspections give SHB an opportunity to thrive, but in this case you're in survival mode and need to take immediate corrective action if infestation persists. Do not use any type of pollen substitute. Although pollen is needed, I've found that frames with pollen are a huge liability for a small colony. Flush any slimmed frames with water and let air out for a good while before reuse. Again, inspect frequently to make sure SHB are not taking over. Some form of trap may be helpful.
I added the super because they were packed. They were both single deep hives and NEEDED more room. I added the super because it is less room than a deep. My plan was to use it as a brood box until they drew out comb and filled it, then use a queen excluder while the rest of the brood was emerging.

I don’t think the frames were “slimmed”. I had that happen last year and this is nowhere near that level. Last year there was bubbling, fermenting honey running out of the combs, flooding the bottom board, and oozing out the entrance. The comb was destroyed. There was also a beetle larva everywhere.

I suspect the larva I saw a week ago was from the bees trying to clean up. This was no where near the same level as last year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Just got back from the hives, one of them absconded. I saw tons of beetles, and a handful of bees that I suspect were robbing out what was left. They left behind open and closed brood, some was still emerging.

I took the remaining hive, removed 5 frames (they were dry), removed the super, and screened over the inner cover. Tomorrow morning I will close off the entrance and try and move it tomorrow afternoon. I did find some eggs in this hive today so hopefully they will stick around.

My third hive is on my balcony and receives plenty of sun. I will put what is left of this one on the balcony as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Also, I left the brood box from the absconded hive sitting on the ground about 10 feet in front of the other hive. I figured they would rob it out with it being that close, and they could use the honey right now. There seemed to be a good bit of honey left.

Is there much risk here? Disease?
 

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>Is there much risk here? Disease?
I would like to rule out disease before giving the full blame to the beetles.

>and maybe 5% of the total comb had open brood. A little capped brood scattered throughout,
Was the open brood spotty or different aged larva side by side, mixed with empty cells?

Can you take pictures of the brood that was left behind? A pictures of the brood you have left in the last hive?

Also do you have any empty frames that had one brood cycle in them (frames with yellow comb with brown patch in the center where the brood was? Take picture of those too.

Imo a strong hive that has not been slimed should not have fallen to beetles.

I would move your hive to full sun, get a bunch of beetle traps, make or buy SBB with oil pan.

Also try "My new beetle trap" it traps beetles outside the hive, use your beetle damaged comb as bait (after freezing)http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?288552-My-New-Beetle-Trap&highlight=beetle+trap
 

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How does full sun help against SHB I have always read people say that here but never saw an explanation of the mechanism. Would it be warmer inside the hive?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yesterday, when I took down the dead (absconded) hive, I left the combs out near the other hive. Today they were being robbed pretty heavily, as one might expect. Beetles were all over them, some ants, and a few yellow jackets.

Anyways, here's the pictures.

DSC_0050.jpg DSC_0080.jpg DSC_0079.jpg DSC_0076.jpg DSC_0071.jpg
 

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A couple years or more ago I lost a couple hives to SHB. In desperation I bought an IPK beetle trap from green beehives. It worked so well I now have them on all my hives.
As long as I keep the oil changed so it don't get a crud on top I don't give SHB a second thought.
It's very rare for me to see a live one in the hives.

Without an oil tray strong hives in full sun is probably your best defense but in my opinion it's a pretty weak defense.
 
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