Will do. Heading over shortly to it. Fingers crossed. But being realistic. I have a nice coffee new frames and new brood box so let’s see what happens. Will let you know later tonight after work.
Hi Dawn, the full inspection was something I should have advised as a matter of urgency.
There was a few key words that rang alarm bells for me. “sticky mess”, “harvest a few days ago”, “a lot of bees hanging around the front of the hive”. On top of that, the photo.
If you follow my story in the topic “when a new beekeeper loses interest” from the 19th of Feb. In that you’ll read of bearding a few days after a honey harvest. On the 20th, we photographed new eggs. On the 25th, we photographed good sized beetle larvae. If we didn’t intervene when we did, there would have been a full blown slyme-out.
You have to see it for yourself & experience it in order to fully understand where @Rodderick & I are coming from.
SHBs are insidious parasites. They are so clever in what they do in order to keep the species alive.
I explained it all to a mentee today. He wont fully understand, until he sees it for himself. I jokingly told him the next thing I’ll have to show you is a slyme-out. He laughed.
He squashed a lot of beetles with me during our inspections.
Hi Glenn, still waiting to read what you found. I hope all is well within the hive & that the activity was only on the coreflute.
PS Glenn, the suspense is killing me, especially after the effort we put into answering your question.
I understand that @JeffH. In February, we had a winter storm with 70mph winds blowing rain directly into one of our hives. The hive did not survive. A week later, we finally had time to clean up, and had to discard many of the frames of comb because of wax moth larvae and SHB larvae. The SHB damage was characteristic, with trails under capped honey weeping and looking liquid. It actually didn’t smell bad, but we put all the affected equipment into a 50 gallon trash bag and threw it out. Shame, but who wants to feed the beetles?
The trails under the capped honey is more characteristic of wax moth, from my observations. If it didn’t smell bad, that would also be characteristic of wax moth. SHB larvae & activity starts smelling quite foul. It must be that foul smell that eventually causes a colony to abscond.
I think I would go with a flush entrance as well as keep the hive tilted forward to eliminate high winds with rain wiping out another colony. I’m guessing your colony could have been in trouble before the high winds & rain wiped it out. That could be a possibility.
It was actually exceptionally strong. Fabulous queen, lovely docile bees. Two full brood boxes. Many beekeepers around me lost hives in that storm because the winds came from an atypical direction and were combined with very heavy rain.
I agree except… When wax moth make the trails, they usually line it with silk. There was no silk here, just a very wet appearance. Perhaps we caught it early? I don’t know, it just seemed prudent to discard it ASAP.
You’ve read where I like downwards facing entrancs. They would definitely help in your situation because the bees propolize the rest of the hive, making it waterproof.
The wet is definitely SHB activity, early stages as you say. Probably at the same time as they start laying the eggs. The foul smell seems to come as the larvae start to become active. I can smell it as I walk past buckets of slumgum, once the beetle larvae become active. All I do then is put a lid on in the sun, that kills them.
I cut the affected comb out to boil up in my wax bin, the same time avoiding beetle larvae from making it to ground. Then I scrape the frames down to re-use. That’s after a good rinse in the sun for a while.
PS I believe the wet appearance comes from beetles chewing into the honey, then walking it all over everything, then as @skeggley pointed out, they have an enzyme that quickly turns the honey rancid. Just thinking while I’m typing, that task could be carried out by the male beetles after lovemaking, while the females are busy laying eggs. Only speculating.
Righto sorry everyone. Had a quick trip to the country (Gunnedah) family thing.
So friend came over, very carefully inspected every frame of the brood box and we also took out every frame of the super. No evidence of moths or larve in frames or comb. A few small hive beetles on the corflute bottom.
I won’t use the exact words that he used to me. But go and buy a lottery ticket was one of them. It seems that we were extremely lucky that the hive is excellent condition.
So going forward he has given a hive maintenance plan and inspection schedule that he is going to make sure we keep.
I showed him all the responses in here and he agreed with most of them. But as I said earlier we are just very lucky.
Thank you all for your help. I’ll take some pics and update after my trip.
Fantastic feedback, thank you so much for taking the time, Glenn.
I have read something different, but I can’t remember the exact research reference. My understanding is that the SHB larvae have certain bacteria and yeast in their guts which immediately start fermenting the honey as they munch through it. This is specific to SHB and is actually evolved to help them break down fruit, which is their normal food in the absence of honey bees.
Just another off-the-wall beekeeper thought from me!
Hi Dawn, that doesn’t explain the wet on the brood & flow frames in those photos I posted on the 20th of Feb. this year. Those photos only contain eggs at that stage. There is no larvae present until the photos on the 25th. I’ve seen it numerous other times where the honey frames are wet, while at the same time, there are only eggs, to very young larvae in diferent locations.
The beetle larvae certainly leaves a bacteria which is a bee repellant. (They are more interested in brood, pollen & dead bees than they are honey, which is low in protein.) You’ll see evidence of that in one of those photos where beetle larvae were previously active, where the bees overwhelmed the larvae & cleaned it out. However the bees didn’t store honey in that area. They left that area (the dark patch) empty.