Does anyone know what this is?

Hi all

Terrible weather here for a week, cold and wet. My bees have been hunkering down and now I’ve discovered in my corflute slider tray, a worm or larva. Can someone identify it? Thanks.

I don’t have them here but it looks (unclear in photo) like it has the characteristic two rows of spines on the back, so small hive beetle larva.

Thanks for the reply. My hive is very strong right now but since the cold weather came through this week I’ve had about 200 dead bees below the hive entrance. Last inspection I didn’t see anything unusual. Would this be related?

This is well worth having as a digital reference, it has pest and disease fact sheets incorporated (ID and what to do)

Also they do a free online course, something worth undertaking to.


wax moth on top. SHB on bottom (6 legs and spikes on top). Wax moth has legs along the length

I think it’s a wax moth larvae.

Thanks for the input. Im going to have a closer look today. Not a great nuc that I bought. Chalkbrood and possibly wax moth…mind you l, im a new beekeeper so I don’t have much of a reference point and the weather has been terrible. No Spring at all in Victoria.

If you bought a nuc with chalkbrood and pests, return it and demand your money back. There are many cowboys around. I wouldn’t take it for free.

The frames should be stamped with his brand so can’t tell you they’re from another hive.

Hi Mike, how long have you had the bees? Did you or a mentor discover chalk brood at the time of purchasing the nuc?

Wet, miserable weather can be a cause of chalk brood to appear in a hive. Wet weather coupled with added ventilation can really bring it on.

During wet weather, we need to make sure that our hives only have the entrance, no larger than 15, with no other openings, especially screened floors.

I don’t think the supplier can be held responsible for the presence of a wax moth larvae, seeing as it appears that you’ve had the colony for at least a couple of months.

The supplier has no control of how you keep your bees, which can lead to all sorts of pests & disease.

If there are any concerns, they should be addressed during, or shortly after pick-up of the colony.

I’ve had the bees since the 6th October, I have only 1 hive and there are no other hives within about 2km. The chalkbrood was there on day 1, I mentioned it at the time, not knowing what it was was and was told that it was ok and a result of the weather and transportation of the nuc.

Fair enough Mike, you certainly have a case to demand a refund or replacement.

Can you take the hive back to the bloke, so that he can swap the colony for a new one that doesn’t have any chalk brood in the brood frames? That would be my suggestion.

I think you’re going to chalk this one down to experience mate. 7 weeks is a bit too long of a wait to return a nuc though you still should give it a go. Not your fault, but the seller’s in my view.

I’d never sell a nuc with chalkbrood, or any pest for that matter especially to someone starting out.

Any chance you can post a photo just to make sure it is Chalkbrood? It can take months to clear and your best chances are with a strong colony that can keep the temp constant. It’s a fine balance between ventilation and maintaining a suitable microclimate inside the hive without excess moisture. Chalkbrood is a fungal infection and thrives in damp hives.

Did you get a chance to find more of those larvae? I still think it is SHB. Wax moth larvae in my experience are a bit more ‘sausage’ like, with segments a bit less defined. When I zoom into your photo (attached) I can see two faint rows of spines which wax moth caterpillars do not have. Having said that your photo looks like the creature has prolegs, like wax moths’, but there should only be 4 pairs, and the photo shows 5 or 6, so they may just be the segments.

The bottom board of the flow hive I had was the perfect breading ground for wax moths. Bees were not able to clean the void between the mesh and plastic slider and that’s were I always found wax moth larvae and cocoons.

Hive beetles wont have a dark area beneath the skin like in the photo. They are pure whitish cream all over, as in that photo John Lawson posted. A side image would give greater clarification.

That dark patch doesn’t look too right for wax moth either in my eyes Jeff. Usually a bit different. What do you think about those two spines at the back? Normally you find more obvious evidence of wax moth too, like webbing. It is also possible to have both pests in one hive I suppose. But agree, a side view would be best. Anyway I do like these challenges.

Thanks very much for the input everyone. I do agree I will have to write it off to experience.

It’s definitely chalkbrood. I’ve been keeping track of discarded mummies, some are black and some are white.

As for the larvae thingy this is the best photo I have. I think it’s SHB. here is a photo.

As I mentioned, we are at the end of spring and have had an exceptionally cold and wet season and it was topped off last week with 3 days of icy winds and hail. It was after that I found the larvae in question(3 of them), in addition to about 200 dead bees at the hive entrance. I cleaned the slider and over the last 2 days I’ve found only one suspect larvae.

I did an inspection today and found that while the capped honey stores are almost gone and there is little pollen the numbers of bees is high. There is a patchy brood pattern but not a lot of capped brood. It’s like they got going for spring but it never came and the Queen has slowed down egg laying. I did spot the Queen and eggs.

A couple of weeks ago the bees were powering along preparing the flow frames for honey stores but now they are not working it much. My feeling is the cold weather, particularly the cold snap, has really affected the hive negatively. The weather for the next 2 weeks is good so I’m hoping I see a recovery.

I’ll add some photos of the frames, with and without bees.

I would remove the super and feed them to boost numbers. A weak hive will be prey at disease and parasites. Does your base have a tray you could use as an oil trap, great for SHB adults and any larvae that drop to pupate in the ground. If you feed them syrup consider putting a little food colouring in it so you can see when they are bringing in nectar. Time to stop then.


Yep definitely SHB. Remove the super ASAP and only put it back when the brood box is really full. Doesn’t help chalkbrood if they have a large dead space on top robbing them heat.

Was that foundation-less frame part of the nuc you bought? I’d probably stick with full sheets of foundation to reduce the chance of wonky comb at least until you get a bit more experience.

And as Rob said, feed syrup. At this time of year 1 part sugar 1 part water. And NEVER feed when the super is on.

Good luck.

Forgot to add that I strongly recommend wiring up your frames and embed the foundation. Will help reduce comb collapse accidents. Trust me you won’t like it if that happens.

The brood box is pretty well packed out, the bare frames are after I’ve shaken the bees off. I’ll attach some more pictures to make it clearer. The flow super had large number of bees working them until the 3 day cold snap.

We are almost at summer here and there are literally 10s of thousands of flowers on our 20 acre property so it seems a bit odd feeding them.

Let me know what you think of the numbers in the hive.

After removing the Queen excluder.

I can’t see much if any nectar stores in those frames that’s why I’d suggest feeding. You may have flowers but not much of a flow especially when it rains. I also see a lot of empty cells in those frames. Not sure you have any eggs in them but they definitely do not look ready for a super to me.

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