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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Checked my hives yesterday (I have four). The oldest hive (a year and a 1/2 old) has swarmed twice this year and I split from it once (which are where my other three hives came from). All seem strong, but I've always had a problem with SHB, especially in the oldest hive. I've got a few traps (the ones that sit on top of the frames, you fill partially with oil and the beetles drop down into the trap). When I opened the hive yesterday, the second deep was mostly loaded with frames full of honey. Found three SHB around the inner cover and some dead in the beetle trap.

I was afraid the Queen would start to feel cramped (she got honey logged in early spring, so want to make sure she's got enough room), so I removed three frames of honey and replaced them with new frames, left the honey super on that they were slowly beginning to draw out comb on and closed her up.

Extracted honey from the first two frames and it was great light golden honey color and smelled amazing. The third frame; however, was almost all black. Thought this was just from age, as it was a frame that I had with the hive since I got the nuc. Started to un-cap one side (good amounts of honey rolling out) and then decided half way through to just go ahead and cut the comb off and replace with new foundation. Started to cut off and break apart by hand to extract the honey and found in every cell small black blobs the size of a SHB, but none of them were moving. As I broke up the comb, you could smell the rancid honey smell.

I immediately tossed it and what was in the strainer that I was putting that honey into. I think some of the honey made it down to mix with the other frame's honey before I could move my strainer of the stock pot I was using to collect the honey (maybe less than half a cup - but not sure).

A few questions:
1. Has anyone encountered this? Seemed almost like the bees had herded the beetles into the frame and sealed them in there (but I thought they ate wax, so seems strange that they would stay in the frame). How have you dealt with this if you have encountered? Are there concerns that I should look out for regarding this hive and my others, as a result?
2. If a little of the honey from the fermented frame got into the other honey, is it all lost?

Thanks!
 

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"Has anyone encountered this?" Not directly seeing what looks like dead sealed SHB adults in cells, no. They do use them to duck into to avoid being harassed, especially larger drone and storage cells. If bees were intentionally sealing them in, that's a trait I'd like to see more of.

"If a little of the honey from the fermented frame got into the other honey, is it all lost?" I doubt that I would want to eat it, but I also doubt it would kill you. You might worry that it'll continue to ferment in the jars? You can find out if you keep them around for a bit, they foam up and eventually burst or leak.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks. I'm going back into that hive this weekend and we'll see if there are other frames that are similar.

Left the honey in a jar for a few days and it just developed a strange smell and started to foam. Tossed it out and put that one under the lessons learned column.

Thought about taking a picture of it all of course after I'd cleaned everything up.
 

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I will tell you this, the traps you are using, will help control the SHB, but they will not stop a hive from getting slimed. At least in my area. You need to invest in the Freeman Beetle Trap or the West SHB Trap. the West is cheaper, but the plastic is brittle, and you have to break the hive down, everytime you want to look at it. Plus, the plastic is black, so, trying to determine the beetle count and mite drop, is next to impossible. With the Freeman Trap, it works with a screened bottom, the plastic is tough ABS and it is white. With the Freeman Trap, you can use an entrance reducer, and check the tray anytime, from the back of the hive, without tearing it down.
 
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