Flow Frame Care following SHB

Hello folks,

Yesterday I managed to pick up an early infestation of SHB in one of my flow frames. I have removed the frame from the hive, bagged it and placed it in a freezer.

My questions are what to do next with the frame.

The frame was semi capped on the infected side but fully capped on the other side with no signs of SHB. Does the structure of the flow frame allow the SHB to burrow all the way to the other side and therefore showing no visible signs when visually inspecting the fully capped side?

Also, what is everyone’s suggestion for cleaning the flow frame to get rid of the honey and dead larvae in the flow frame so that I can put it back in the hive?

Thanks in advance for your help!


Neil B.

I’m not sure if there’s any reference to that sort of thing in the flow faq’s. I assume you’d clean the frame with water no hotter than 80dugC.

What caused the beetle larvae in the flow frame? How is the rest of the hive? I’m guessing it’s ok.

Well, you could defrost it, then drain it off the hive. In your kitchen, if you like. Then you can collect the honey and see if there are any larvae in it. If not, you can taste the honey, and if you like it, use it yourself. After that, just return the frames to the hive if there weren’t too many larvae, or do a hand-hot water rinse if there were a lot.

Just my 2 cents worth. :blush:

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Jeff H, still trying to establish what the cause was. We have two prevention/treatment strategies in place all the time - paste and chux.
Funny thing is that we hardly see SHB in any numbers that would worry you. I see more when I watch Caesar open up his hives on the Flow site.

Dawn, I’m not sure you can use the honey that’s been in contact with SHB larvae as I believe it is toxic.

Hi Neil, I’m glad you caught it early. You don’t have to see many beetles in a hive in order to get a problem. It only takes one mated female to lay a couple of hundred eggs. They wont normally lay eggs in honey itself. They look for a protein source for their larvae to feed on. It would normally be brood, dead & or trapped bees or pollen.

A former client of mine finished up with slimed flow frames on account the queen got up past the queen excluder before laying eggs in the frames. The owner called me 3 days after a honey harvest because of a large beard on the outside of the hive. As it turned out the colony was getting ready to abscond. Cracking the flow frames must have ruptured all the brood, causing the beetles to go on an egg laying & slime fest. They lay eggs & slime simultaniously. They chew into the honey, immerse their bodies in it before walking it everywhere, giving everything a wet appearance. They have an enzyme which rapidly turns the honey rancid, which is the reason this colony was getting ready to abscond.

I never use any honey from the section of comb with that wet appearance.

My question was more to do with what the beetles laid eggs in. It could have been brood or dead bees.

These photos show the damaged brood in the first photo, followed by the egg clusters coupled with slimed honey.


It is not toxic, but it may not taste great. SHB carry a lot of microorganisms which are able to ferment honey, generating alcohol and carbon dioxide. These organisms help the larvae digest rotting fruit, which is the normal diet of SHB. The only reason for suggesting tasting it, was in case the larvae were wax moth rather than SHB. Entirely up to you, of course. Personally, if it definitely had larvae in the honey, I would discard it - flush it down the drain and clean the frames with mild dish soap and hot water (at 70°C or less)