Hive Beetles and Stuck frames

Aloha from Maui!
I opened my flow window and was greeted by several black mites!! Now I just put the flow on top of my brood box which was about 80 percent full but didn’t inspect every frame because the frames looked pretty stuck and I didn’t want to kill any bees. Worried now. Any advice? Shall I pull the flow super off and go ahead and unstick the frames risking all their hard work and try the powdered sugar method?

I will look for others to reply as well. The hive beetle is going to be always in the hive somewhere. I actually saw one as well on the end of the float frame in the middle of a comb. Next time I open the hive that beetle was already gone. Hopefully in the beetle trap I had provided. Looking in the beetle traps each time there are more and more Beatles in there so the bees do you know what to do with them

Knocking on wood… But I put my hive in a very SHB unfriendly location(direct sun and on a concrete slab). So far starting my 4th week with bees and I have not seen any beetles around my hive. I keep looking for them because I am sure it is a matter of time before they discover my little hive. I am just glad it hasn’t happened yet while they are building strength.

However I think you are talking about two different things. Powdered sugar is for Varroa which is more of a reddish colored mite. If you actually have SHB powdered sugar won’t do anything for them that I am aware of. Reducing the entrance and keeping your population density high are the best defense from SHB, though there are many different ways to trap and kill them. From what I know you won’t see Varroa out in the open on their own unless they are on the bottom board after being groomed off.


Are they definitely mites or beetles? The diagnosis is very important as the treatment is very different in each case. And what do you mean by “the frames looked pretty stuck and I didn’t want to kill any bees”. Are these the brood frames you are referring to or the Flow frames? Normal wooden frames are generally always a little stuck due to them being propolised by the bees, use your hive tool to lever up one of the frames and pull it out of the box, you can then break the seal of each frame and slide them into the gap. Inevitably some bees are going to get squashed, you’ll have to live with that.

Hi Christine, I agree with @Rodderick. You’ll need to do what Rodd said & take one of the brood frames out. Take the one that you think will be the easiest one to take out first. Place it somewhere, then proceed with the rest. If you have any issues with cross combing or comb in the wrong place, it’s best to deal with that sooner rather than later. Scrape any bur comb off the frames before replacing them & make sure your spacing is correct. Use a little smoke to help you replace frames so you don’t kill many bees. If there are SHB around, you don’t want to leave any dead or stuck bees between the frames or under the frame lugs.

My main strategy for SHB is to make sure I don’t have any large areas of drone comb in my brood. I’m happy with small areas of drone comb, but not the large areas like you get when you use foundationless frames. Something to keep in mind when you do your brood check.

You’ll need to have your brood frames organized properly so it’s easy to do a brood inspection at any time. Use a bit of smoke & scrape off any bur comb before replacing the QX

Thanks guys! It’s def SHB. It’s the wood frames that are stuck. Ok. I will open tomorrow with my husband to lift flow hive box from the top. After sitting on there for two weeks I am seeing very little activity when I open the viewing door. I may have put on too early. Can I take that off and leave it off or put it back on? I’m going to use a mineral oil trap for the SHB and place in the bottom of the brood box. After scraping the burr comb and loosing up those frames I should have a more clear idea if I should keep that flow hive on top. May be too much playground at this point. These bees don’t seem to be creating comb very fast.

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That sounds like a good plan. Make sure everything is ok in the brood before putting the flow super back on. I think a good idea is to put a vinyl mat on the brood frames with bee space all round & a lid with a decent bee space in it. Once the bees start building in the lid, remove that lid & replace it with the flow super.

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I never got a chance to open the hive. My mom went into ICU so was gone and just got back. I peeked inside and am fearing my bees have left? The stuck frames look no longer stuck and I spyed a huge cockroach and there seems to be little activity. I will report what I find…uh oh.

Oh wow, I hope your Mum comes out of ICU alright.

I find the odd big cockroach in weak colonies.

Mom is great now! Bees not so good! They are gone! I have a small amount of drones hanging out. Will they make a new queen? The hive is competely robbed. So sad. I am going to attach some photos. The frames looked to be 80% full when I put the Flow hive on top. Thinking I did that too soon and they weren’t able to defend themselves. This has been a long process. I thought we were getting stronger! Too much rain and not enough blooms i fear. Should I find or “order” a new queen or what should I do? I took off the top box and closed up the box with only one entrance for the bees. So sad. Can’t figure out how to attach pics here. The original family was feral hive we removed from a sculpture stand. It was pretty small then. But seemed to be doing great until I put the Flow on top. The center combs were started from the original brood.

I think you need a whole new colony, either a package or a nucleus. If you just order a queen, she has nothing to eat and the drones won’t take care of her. Also if you have mostly drones, you probably have laying workers, and they will kill a new queen. Your best bet may be your local bee clubs to enquire what is available at this time of year - we are getting late in the season for colony shipments now. If somebody has a strong hive, they may be willing to give (or sell) you a frame or two of brood and bees.

I would also shrink down your hive. Take off the Flow super, if you haven’t already. Go down to just one box. If you get nectar flows later in the year in Hawaii, then you could stay in an 8 or 10-frame box. If not, I would consider putting the best frames with the most bees into a nucleus. This won’t save your hive without a strong colony though - if you only have drones, they will not make it.

Please let us know what you decide to do.

I have tried to contact a bee club or our local Apiary and to no avail. Pretty quiet bee peeps here I am noticing.
I will look around some more.

Hi Christine, that’s great news about your Mum, not so great about the bees. It looks they absconded & only left a handful of bees. Like as @Dawn_SD said, a new queen will be of no use to you. Is there any SHB activity in the other frames that caused the bees to abscond? What about fowl smell, was there any fowl smell in the hive, that will also make the bees abscond? The fowl smell being either AFB or EFB. It’d be good to get a closer look at the leftover brood. cheers.

No foul smell, actually still smelled like honey. I did have some problems with the SHB which I was working on getting rid of. oil traps etc. But I really think I gave them too much room. What is AFB OR EFB?

American Foulbrood or European Foulbrood. Both are devastating bacterial infections, which require treatment, possible notification of the state bee inspection or Dept of Agriculture, and sometimes burning equipment.

With the lack of local support, and the set-backs you have had, I strongly recommend a lot of reading before you try to start again. Books, online, anything you can lay your hands on. You will find things a lot easier when you are armed with more knowledge. This forum is great for specific questions, but you really need knowledge or community support for the least stress in beekeeping.

Im back! I just put a new family in their new home. Actually, my beekeeper friend arrived back on island and split his hive and set me up again. I created a new space for them on the opposite side of the property where I am not finding any ants. We have put weed cloth down and gravel and hope this will help deter predators. I can see it from my kitchen window and am excited watching the bees fly around again. This is a very strong family so hopefully we will have better luck. They should fill up pretty quickly, and then I can add my super on top with the modified Flow frames inside! Going to keep a closer eye on them this time. By the way…how does one have a picture next to their name on the forum?

Hi Jeff,
When you say put a vinyl matt on top of brood frames with bee space all around…is this mat rigid…do you have a pic? I like that idea. I don’t want to make the same mistake twice. I also need to get a queen excluder…my beekeeper friend doesn’t use an excluder, but he doesn’t use Flow frames either. He comes from a long line of family Russian beekeepers.

Hi Christine, I’ve had a few hives without a queen excluder & I must say that I prefer to use one. I don’t use any flow frames. I suppose you’d call me a traditional beekeeper. The vinyl mat is just a piece of vinyl they put on floors. You can pick up roll ends or off cuts from carpet shops real cheap. Recently a shop gave me some roll ends for a nice feed of honey. It was good vinyl as well, it was the stuff they use on hospital floors. Good luck with your bees, bye for now.

Good day! I opened the hive and it has been a little over one month. They are a very healthy strong family and feel horrible smashing a few bees while putting the frames back in. I smoked them but do you have a trick or hint on how not to smash these? I tried swiping them a bit with my hand and brush, and they didn’t seem to like that too much.

The outside 2 frames on the right from the back of the hive still don’t have any comb on them where as the 2cnd frames on the left is being built up quite nicely. The internal frames were full and heavy. Why would they fill one side up faster than the other…more sun on that side? I am going to wait until I see comb on the outside frames before adding the flow super on top this time. good idea?

I try and be really gentle and slow when replacing frames but I still manage to squish a few sometimes.

I came home from a month away to find SHB in my Flow frames and no honey. The colony is quite strong an I could see bees harassing the beetles wherever they could find them. I have three flow frames and 4 Langstroth frames in the top box. This configuration gave me enough space for 4 beetle eater type plastic traps. The traps have been in place just under a week. This morning I opened the end window and there were no beetles to be seen.

I will give the beetle eaters another few days and do a proper inspection. The traps will get tipped out and the beetles counted. If I see any beetles in the flow frames, they will go into the freezer for two days. My flow frames are still empty but it’s early in the season here in Oz so I’m not at all surprised my girls aren’t filling them yet.