Hi everyone. Completed a harvest a few days ago. Since then I have noticed a lot of bees hanging around the front of the hive. Today I decided to do a brook inspection. And noticed a massive buildup of sticky mess and some sort of larve. I note the corflute bottom was stuck and couldn’t get it out. Any ideas on what it is?
Are you in USA or Australia. I ask because we have a number of great contributors who will hit the correct answer first time.
I am in UK and my presumption will not be correct
Another question. Does this hive have a large or small colony of bees.
Did you inspect the Flow frames before the harvest? Were they fully capped? An arc of uncapped honey in the center of the frame can result in a honey leak, which sounds like your problem.
Did you open the whole frame in one go? Did you open all of the Flow frames on the same day? Did the bees start bearding (hanging out on the front of the hive) the day of the harvest?
If so, I suspect you had a honey flood from an airlock in the Flow tube. Most people on this Forum open their frames in 20% increments, waiting about 10 minutes before opening the next 20% to avoid an airlock and honey leak.
I use a long (36 inch) metal rule (ruler if you aren’t fussy) and ease it under the top edges of the slider where it meets the wood slot. If there is propolis or old honey around the edge, the slider will be freed up by the metal rule.
That looks like it is on the core flute slider, so did you get it out in the end? Which slot was it in? I have a couple of possibilities for you:
- The slider was in the lower slot after the harvest. The bees can’t reach it in that slot. Bees chewed off the cappings after your harvest, and they fell down out of reach. If the slider is in the upper slot, the bees will recycle or dispose of them. A lot of that mess is probably wax cappings.
- If the slider was in the lower slot, wax moth larvae could have an unmolested party in the wax cap feast laid out for them. They would be nicely out of reach (from their point of view) of any patrolling bees. They can multiply very fast.
- I hope this hasn’t happened, and you inspected, so you will know. The mess is because the bees absconded after the harvest. It can happen if the hive floods. Then SHB and wax moths can go nuts in the undefended hive.
Hope that helps. Glad you asked, as it helps all of us to remember these issues.
Hi mate. Central Coast NSW Australia. Very healthy large amount of bees.
Hi Dawn_SD. This sounds exactly like what happened. Have never done a harvest of all 7 frames before. Normally only 1 or 2. And we did notice that one of the frames only gave 4 jars instead of the 7 the rest did. So it must of leaked quite a bit.
Was able to get the slider out eventually as it was good and stuck. All cleaned up and hopefully this should fix all the issues.
Thanks for your help
It was probably not fully capped then, and that is why it leaked. Thanks for the follow-up information. Next harvest it might be best to just do 2 frames on any one day, and open in sections, as I mentioned.
At least we all learned something, so thank you for sharing the experience.
Small hive beetle larvae.
Got it in 4 words. I only just finished typing a reply to @Chava on the same subject.
Going by the number of SHB grubs on the coreflute, you have a serious problem that needs urgent attention. The main urgency right now is to prevent the beetle larvae from making it to ground where they will develop into more beetles. The sticky part of the “sticky mess” is a bee repellant. Therefore that has to be removed from everything before adding another colony. If the colony is to be saved, you’ll need to get it into a fresh brood box with fresh frames & brood from another colony.
I’m a self proclaimed expert on SHBs & sadly there’s no easy solution once a hive gets to the stage yours has. I’ve been there, done that. Prevention is the best cure.
Not for long. Personally if I saw this in one of my hives I would be dumping all the bees into a new box with foundation frames and abandoning all the brood, treat them as you would a new swarm. You will not recover from this unless you do, and then dump all of the old hive into soapy water and dispose all the comb and larva into garbage bags, make sure no grubs escape. Sorry to sound harsh but you have a serious infestation there.
With that many beetle larva, I wonder if the honey was contaminated with beetle slime?
Hi Ed, that could be highly possible because Glenn said he harvested honey a few days ago. My thinking being: a few = 3. With that in mind, if it’s only 3 days since the honey harvest, those large larvae are more than 3 days old.
Let’s put it this way: if the honey harvest triggered the beetles into action, the honey would be free of slyme. If the beetles were triggered into action before the honey harvest, the honey would possibly contain slyme.
Hi everyone. Thanks for all the info and help. I am
Lucky that I have a friend who is part of a local bee club that is coming over to inspect and advise. We have cleaned out all the mess and they seem a lot happier for the moment. The hive is located in a chicken coup so the chickens have been happy to eat them all.
Not sure about slime in the honey but it all tasted great so we will see what happens with that.
Fingers crossed we can save the hive. But will know tomorrow.
Once again thank you everyone for your help. Great to be part of this community.
You’re most welcome Glenn, you can certainly save the hive with enough soap & elbow grease. Saving the colony might be a bit harder to do if you don’t get them into a different clean hive before they abscond.
I did a job for a bloke earlier this year. (similar situation) His colony was ready to abscond. I saved it with a different clean box, fresh frames & a fesh frame of mostly open brood.
With the plastic flow frames in place it would significantly slow down the larva tunnelling through the comb as they typically would.
Chickens will help as well with breaking the SHB cycle.
I’m not trying to be negative but I’ve seen SHB larvae in flow frames, as well as previous activity in flow frames that bees were able to overwhelm. In the latter, the bees just left that portion alone without storing any honey in it because of what I previously stated. I stated that SHB slyme is a bee repellant.
In relation to the chooks: It’s my observation that beetles wait until dark before exiting the hive in order to bury themselves about 4" deep in the soil. A time when chooks are sleeping.
Anytime any pest has taken over (small hive beetle, wax moths, ants etc.) I would compress the hive. Remove any infested frames, any empty frames and then shake the bees off of underpopulated combs until all the combs are covered in bees. Give the underpopulated (but not infested) combs to strong hives to take care of. If you don’t have that, then freeze them if you can.
I don’t want to encourage a lack of caution here, because I think it is always good to be certain. However, I think there could be a situation where you would see that pile of junk and larvae (could be both wax moth and SHB), without the inside of the hive being in bad shape. I tried to say that above, but perhaps I wasn’t clear.
If the junk all came from the core flute slider and the slider was in the lower slot of the screened bottom board immediately after a harvest, after 3 or 4 days, you could see something like the stuff in the photo. There are adult SHB in that photo, so a full inspection is needed, however, in the lower slot, the larvae could happily grow and feed very fast, as there would be few to no bees around to control them. If the debris was wax caps and honey drippings, there would be a huge abundance of food.
I am not disagreeing with my esteemed friends’ comments above, I am just saying that until a full inspection has been done, we can’t be sure that the hive is in trouble.
If the slider was in the upper slot, or that mess came from a solid bottom board, then I totally agree, that hive is in huge trouble.
Thank you again for more info. Today we have a very experience keeper coming over to help in a full inspection. We will then do whatever he recommends. I have really appreciated all of the comments in the forum. At least it has given me some ideas. And also has made me think a lot about the future for when we start again.
Fantastic attitude, Glenn. It is such a pleasure to have you on the forum. Please let us know how it goes. I am keeping everything crossed for you and your bees.