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Hi All and thanks in advance for any help.

I've had my hive since roughly late Feb/March. I'm in Australia so it's spring here and I knew I had lots of honey in my super as it weighed a tonne so last weekend I decided to harvest.

As would seem the norm, my harvesting looked nothing like my books or any Youtube videos.

Firstly, I saw lots of hive beetles across the top of the super. Maybe 10 or so over the course of the harvest. Everything I read said don't worry about them if the hive is strong and my hive was very strong.
Secondly, all the honey frames were connected. It was a massive mess to get 5 frames out and leave 3 behind. Honey and comb went everywhere. I probably took 200 - 300 bees with me that were stuck in the honey on the frames. I saw at least one big chunk (tennis ball size) fall and rest on the queen excluder but I assumed they'd be ok with cleaning that up so I left it.

The bees were outside the hive for a few days and yesterday there were almost none outside BUT there was honey dripping out of the entrance with dead bees in it.

This morning I opened the hive. I ignored the super as I could see it from the top was ok and dry. The queen excluder was covered in orange-brown muck. Under the excluder was total annihilation and heart break. There were cupfulls of larvae everywhere; All over the frames and all over the bottom of the hive. The frames all looked glazed and dead and there were very few bees on them but there were larvae in the cells. I pulled 5 frames out and cleared out the base of the hive, took so many larve out along with all the sticky stuff on the bottom (not sure if it was honey). I cleaned out the single hive beetle trap in the bottom box and then put the hive back together BUT I left the queen excluder out. My theory is that the super still looks good and dry with some bees in it and it will allow somewhere good for the queen to do her thing (if she's still alive).

What else can I do? I ordered some beetle traps on Sunday when I noticed the few then so they will likely arrive today, so I'll open it back up and put a crap load of traps in. Can I do anything about the larve that is left?

Is there anything else I can do? Is the hive doomed?

Thanks again in advance,

Christian
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I do have some nice clean frames - I could pull out what looks dead in the bottom and replace with new ones?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Sounds to me as if you initiated a robbing frenzy when you left the chunks of comb dripping honey into the hive and I assume through the bottom board. At this point I would remove any frames with honey and reduce the entrance to the smallest possible opening. Install a robber screen if you have one. Come back in a week and see if you have eggs. If not, they got the queen and the hive is doomed. Chances are good this one is a goner, but you never know
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So, I just looked under the hive and got a pleasant surprise. It appears all my bees are still here but underneath.

Do I catch these guys and put them back in? Should I take any old brood frames out before I put them back in? Or do I leave them to their own devices?

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Sorry images are upside down... Not sure how to fix.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I am not convinced that those are not still robber bees. Take off the honey super and leave the brood frames alone. Close down the entrance to about 10mm. Once robbing has progressed to the point where brood is being ripped from the cells, it is usually too late. Do you have any other hives?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
No other hives, nope.

The brood all looks dead and glazed and riddled with hive beetle larvae. Should I replace the frames?
 

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I would place the bees into a new dry clean hive body. With drawn comb if possible. I would freeze the lot of the slimed frames for at least 48 hours to kill any hive beetle larva. The bees are getting ready to abscond due to the hive beetles over running their brood box.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I did not get that the frames in the brood nest were slimed. Yes, remove any frames containing hive beetle larvae and freeze them. Leave only unaffected frames in the hive body. Cluster any good drawn frames in the center of the brood chamber. After a few days, the frozen frames can be thawed back out, washed with a sprayer to remove larvae and fermented honey, and the put back in the hive. If, through all this, the queen survived with enough bees, you may be able to make a go of it.

You need a second hive to have resources. Set a few swarm traps out and see what happens.
 

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I wouldn't use any frames from that colony until they have been frozen for a couple of days as they all probably have SHB eggs on them. Put the bees in a hive with frames of foundation or an empty hive for a couple of days until you salvage whatever you can of your slimed frames. Then, only give them as much drawn comb as they can cover. Freeze those frames of honey for a couple days, then give them back to them a little at a time.

Good luck
Alex
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi Guys,

Thanks for all the info.
I cleaned out the hive as best as I could and then captured the cluster and put it back in. Capturing was a bit tricky, they were under the hive and had built comb down into my besser blocks under the hive (i think these are 'cinder blocks' in the States). The blocks were 3 deep and the bees were down to the bottom. I ended up pulling these apart and putting the hive back on a two deep blocks but with the openings horizontal rather than vertical. Anyway, no love. The bees moved to behind the hive and clustered between the hive and the back fence. Clearly they didn't like the hive.

So, I went and bought a new ten frame with screen bottom and tray and using foundation frames. I put the new hive right in front of where the old hive was and got rid of the old one. I then scooped the bees up and put them into the new hive and once closed I put them on the entrance. I stayed there and grabbed any bees that went back to the fence and put them on the entrance. Then I left the hive on the ground like this for a few hours and noticed straight away that the bees were going inside. After a little while I put the hive on the blocks and levelled it and put a bit of olive oil in the tray.

This mornings brief inspection shows lots of bee activity around the entrance with bees arriving back home and going straight in. Also I pulled the tray out and there was 5 or 6 dead hive beetles already.

I'm planning on leaving them for the week and I'll have a quick look on the weekend mainly to check on the beetles and make sure the bees are happy.

This week I'll pressure wash the old hive and super. I boiled all the frames to clean them also so all the bits are gone. I'll put this back together and put some swarm traps in.

Thanks again guys!!
 
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