Bees and hive beetles/maggots in pest management tray

We noticed some bees flying out when we removed the pest management tray. Do we have an issue with how the flow hive is set up or could they have come through the screen? Also, we noticed that there were some hive beetles and a dead maggot in the pest management tray. What is the best pest management solution other than oil? I saw a website talking about better beetle blasters. Should we use something like that?
Thank you!

Welcome to the forum and to beekeeping.
The maggot is likely a small hive beetle larva. Bees can’t get through the mesh unless it’s damaged. More likely, they’re finding a gap at the back or if the slide isn’t all the way in, there might be a gap at the front. A few bees isn’t a problem, but if there’s always a lot, then you’ll need to find that gap and fix it.
The best defence against SHB is a strong, healthy colony. Then add some tools to help them. There’s plenty of options: Swifter cloth on top of the frames catches SHB by the hooks on their legs (can also catch bees), Silver Bullets or plastic equivalent with oil or diatomaceous earth fitted between the frames, Guardian Entrance, oil or diatomaceous earth on the tray and squishing with hive tool - very satisfying . These are all mechanical methods and very effective. Some beekeepers use chemical traps dosed with commercial or home made poison. I’ve never needed chemicals. My preference is Guardian Entrance, Silver Bullet with DE and DE on the tray, which also catch some Varroa.
You can disrupt their reproductive cycle by watering in lawn grub mix around the hives. The nematodes eat the SHB larvae and is harmless to bees.
Sometimes you’ll hear beekeepers say they lost their hive to SHB. SHB are opportunists that can overwhelm a weak or small colony. There’s always a reason for the weakness or size. Adding a super before there are enough bees to guard the extra space or putting a small swarm in an eight or ten frame box instead of a nuc are examples of a small colony. The colony might be infected with AFB or other disease. They may be succumbing to Varroa.
As with all things beekeeping, there are many options. Things that work for somebody else, might not work for you. Your colonies each have their own personalities, so try different things to see what works for them.
Have fun.


These are great. every week 4-7 SHB in them. Fill them with jussst a bit of veg/olive oil- just to barely cover the whole bottom. (no need for more- no mess) put in between frames so they are flush with the top. Swap them out when they get too dirty.

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Thanks for all of the tips! We will definitely look into them, we have a fairly new nuc so hopefully the health of the colony is pretty good. Ive attached a picture of how many bees were on the underside of the screen last night when we pulled out the tray.

That is a normal amount of bees to be found after installing a nuc, but by now (I assume a couple of weeks later) they should be establishing their brood box and filling it up now- yes? You could have brushed those dead bees off of the bottom screen while you had the hive open, but if you didn’t the workers will carry them out one by one. Also a point I missed about the maggot is that a SHB maggot needs soil to land in in order to morph into a beetle. If you find them in the tray it is because they have been carried out and dropped below by the bees (I have seen this first hand) but without soil to fall into- They will die. It is not necessary to keep the tray filled with oil. What I personally do- Is I have 2 trays per hive, and I swap out a clean one for a dirty one each inspection, but that’s just the way I like to do it. I do the same with feeders as it minimizes the amount of time I have the hives open by quick swapping clean filled feeders with empty dirty propolized ones.

I dont think i was quite clear. This is the underside (from the ground looking up) not the brood box side and the bees in the picture are alive. Yes, the brood box seems to be happy and building out the brood box in weeks since weve gotten them. Theyve also started exploring the super.

It seems to me that if you remove the pest tray when the bees are very active or orienting (or trying to rob) some will get underneath and be trapped when you put the tray back.

The number of bees that get fooled by the bottom screen because don’t know exactly where the entrance is will go down as they get oriented/established.


We got that throughout the warmer months when the bees spent lots of time hanging out the front. When we pulled the tray out for inspection, there was always a few would try to get back in through the screen. We used the Flow bee brush to chase them away before replacing the tray.
J_JJ’s suggestion of fast-swapping a spare tray works for us now.