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FLOW design aids SHB


It’s risky for the geckos to sit at a hive’s entrance. This bloke saw it during dusk. Butcher birds absolutely love geckos. That’s probably why the gecko was active then, otherwise it’d get quickly eaten.

Once I saw a butcher bird frantically trying to catch something on our back wall. As it turned out after a close investigation, it was a gecko.

The best thing for folks with bees in areas where SHBs are active is to follow my strategy of not worrying about them. Just remember:- Keep colonies strong, don’t allow the beetles easy access to brood, dead/dying bees or pollen. Bear in mind that drones don’t defend. It’s that simple & occupies less than 2 lines.

PS Jack, another thing about beetles as well as beetle larvae is they are most active at night, while chickens are roosting. Whenever you expose beetles to daylight, they run for cover. I also noticed that beetle larvae leave the hive during the dark.

Chickens might find them while scratching around the next day. I believe that beetle larvae bury down about 4 inches.

I wonder if bees ever attack birds. It would be devastating if your brother’s chooks got attacked by the bees with no way of escaping.


There are a few ways to prevent SHB. Doing a search in the forum will give you some solutions:

This is the one with diatomaceous earth:

Jeffs, no trap, trap:

This is a homemade one hung away from the hives, similar to the fruit fly traps you can use without chemicals in your garden:

Not sure if the ingredients inside attract only SHB, or if this wasp trap one will also attract SHB:

You can close the hole in your inner cover to prevent anything from going into your roof.

Hope that helps.


I love the fly trap idea. The bloke did catch quite a few beetles, you see at the end of the video.

I’d like to try one at the place where I look after a hive that always has lots of beetles in it.

You can play around with the ingredients, I’m sure.


@JeffH I guess you thought the video has food for thought, I will give it a try myself, if it works that is good, if it doesn’t, well, it is not a big deal and I won’t need to go see my bank manager.


G’day Peter, I’ll grab one from Bunnings. I’m sure it will work. Even if it doesn’t catch a significant amount of beetles, we can always use it as a fly trap.


We took some photos of the dark stain I’m talking about. This in one of our frames. All I can put it down to is SHB slime residue. I’d be interested in other theories.



"there you go- we’ve got a few live ones: one live one, no live ones… " :laughing: :beetle::muscle::skull_and_crossbones:

for a second there I was thinking: ‘I’ll make one!’- then I remembered we don’t even have beetles here yet. Might try it later in summer if I see yellow jacket wasps again.


I have frames that are stained and we don’t have beetles. In my case it is from mold and/or propolis. See how it is stained in that arc at the bottom? The bees have eaten the honey there and then the mold set in (at least that’s how it happened to mine) or the bees worked it for ages slowly adding proplis/dirt- but no honey. When a frame is not worked and/or full of honey- the bees to tend to put more propolis and/or wax into the comb. Then in winter and/or damp condition you get some mold. In your case it looks more like just dark propolis?

I wonder how much this staining matters? I’d prefer if it wasn’t there- but cleaning it off is a pain. I guess commercial beekeepers don’t worry themselves too much when an old sticky looks pretty dark?


What makes me think that it was from SHB larvae was the fact that the section was free of honey. A characteristic of SHB larvae, bees leave it alone after cleaning it out.


It looks as if the blades are are at different settings somehow in that dark section. Maybe the alignment is wrong and the bees tried to propolise the cells?


That’s it - I’ve seen the identical pattern here- if the cells are slightly out bees may avoid them- the go in and out but never deposit nectar. Then the cells end up stained

Here is a frame of mine that became stained after being in the hive but empty over winter:


The really dark stain on the left has lots of the cells out of alignment and the stain ends when the closed cells begin, but that dark lower section on the right seems perfectly aligned even when zoomed in on the frame. It has me stumped.
Cheers mate


I looked at that also. It’s on the end where the key goes in. So those cells should be fully aligned properly for the rest to be aligned. Especially seeing as we harvested the honey in increments.

The flow frames I inspected 3 weeks ago had the exact dark stain on one end, completely void of honey, with the only 6 beetles we saw in the whole hive hiding there. The rest of that frame was chock-a-block & fully capped.

I told the folks who picked up their bees for the Flow2 that I thought flow frames should be harvested away from the hive. That was after showing them my stained frame & @Heron’s photo in answering their questions on SHB management.


As mentioned those few rows look to be out of alignment.I always operate the key 6 or more times and move the key from one side to another. If I find it is difficult when opening I use two keys to spread the load, particularly when it is colder.
The issue is the plastic in the key area bows but this is more likely when opening the cells but I guess could happen if the cells bind when closing. I also slide the key in and out to see if it jumps or grabs to confirm all cells are reset.
Haven’t seen this on any of flowframes.


Hi Gary, I noticed those cells were out of alignment after uploading the photos. I just now inspected the other 5 frames to discover some were out of alignment, but not as bad as the ones in the photo.

Some bees must have been in the cells at the point of harvest & got squashed, therefore giving beetles a chance to lay eggs in the dead bees. That would explain the dark stain. Maybe the flow team has a different explanation, cheers.

PS. only one key came with the hive.

PPS @Gaz, Wilma grabbed the key, then started turning the mechanism. As it turned out, it’s only one row that’s out of alignment. When we open the frame, that row is lined up, while all the rest are out of alignment. Everything moves, it’s just that one must have been assembled the wrong way.


Hi Jeff, very strange how that can happen, I have one new spare and have been playing around with it. You can reach in the flow channel with your finger or a tool and actually push up any section (every second section moves), but there is always a space to push it down again with the flow key in the top channel.
We have accumulated a few keys from 3 puchases.


Hello - I’ve been bee keeping for 10 days now in the inner west of Sydney and was surprised to find SHB in my Flow Hive at my first inspection a week after installing the nucleus. I only saw 4 and promptly squashed them and removed all dead bees that I could find. I made a trap from a piece of vinyl table cloth stuck to the corflute slider, fluffy side up, but I observed today that it hasn’t worked - a beetle just walked over it after the bees chased it down and dropped it through the screen. I grabbed an old cooking tray and have filled it with waste vegetable oil and slid that under the hive in place of the corflute. My hope is the bees will chase the SHB into that and they’ll drown. Is this worth a go or am I on the wrong track? I will also make a fly trap as per the video above.


keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t drown a lot of bees too.

we don’t yet have beetles thankfully- but JeffH’s expert advice would be not to worry and keep the hives strong. He’d likely recommend using foundation, and having a solid base for your hive…


Hi Ethan,

Have you installed the nuc in your brood box and left the Flow Super off for now?


Hi @Faroe - Yes, it was a 5-frame nucleus in a 10 frame brood box. The flow super is off for now. I had it on for 1 day (about day 8 after nuc install) and realised it was not a good idea at this early stage and took it off this morning. I’ll wait until the bees have filled out the brood box before re-installing.