Honeyflow.com | FAQ's |

Hive lost...... What now?

Hi guys, need some urgent advice.
The hive I was asking about yesterday is now a lost cause.
Beatles wax moth low population queenless. We’ve made all the mistakes.
Can you tell me what I should do with that Hive and those frames and Flow frames? I think it needs to be euthanized and we start again.
So I think my question is how do we clean up a sick Hive in order to start again with the box and Flow super?
At least our second hive is going great.
Very sad.
Many lessons learnt.


Very sorry @RonM, it is always hard to lose a hive. However, all is not totally lost. If it was mine, I would do the following:

  1. Take off the Flow super
  2. Take the brood frames about 50 metres away and shake all of the bees off
  3. Return the frames to the hive and wait a day
  4. Open your strong hive and put a sheet of newspaper on top. It doesn’t matter if it is on top of the Flow super.
  5. Put the brood box (now cleared of laying workers) on top of the newspaper
  6. Wait 2 days, then take it off if the bees have chewed through (very high chance that they will have done so). Shake any remaining bees into the hive.
  7. Freeze the remaining frames if they are worth saving to kill off the wax moths.

I would shake off the bees to reduce the chance that any laying workers will try to kill you nice queen in the new hive. Laying workers behave like queens, and get aggressive towards any competition, even in a merge.

As long as it was just swarming that killed them, the box should be fine to re-use later. Cleaning up the Flow frames will depend on what is in them. Not much, I would imagine. In that case, I would just freeze them for 24 hours, then store in the super covered in hessian to stop more moths from getting at them.

1 Like

Sad to read it Ron, A big disappoint to you in your first year. Dawn has given you good advice if you have the time to put into doing it before you go away. My only concern is if you have a really heavy infestation of wax moth on the brood frames when you do a newspaper merge some could fall through into the healthy hive. I’m not saying Dawn’s idea is wrong but I would be tempted to euthanize the bees on the frames by putting the frames in plastic bags and freezing for 24 hours. Make sure frames and even the boxes are in plastic bags when you are away to reduce the risk of SHB and wax moth making a bad situation worse. :anguished::anguished:
Cheers mate

Good point about the wax moths @Peter48, but personally I have never had a strong hive get overrun with them. In fact, I have had a swarm move into a moth-riddled hive the day before I was about to dismantle it. They cleaned it up and fixed it beautifully! I hate killing bees too, which is why I would do as I described. :wink:

I agree that @RonM may not have time - my plan would take at least 3 days.

1 Like

Thanks guys, but it was too far gone. Wouldn’t have wanted to mix any part of it with the good hive.
Frames are in the freezer.
We’ll resurrect it when we get back
We feel like we failed them.

1 Like

So where do you think you could/should have done it better Ron?
I think you have made a good decision to freeze everything and tackle it when you get back home.
Cheers mate

1 Like

Mistakes in no particular order.

1st mistake
Shouldn’t have tried to be clever and just done a straight split back in august. Wanted to try to keep our fantastic queen and took some advice to take out the honey frames on the edges and put fresh frames in. Didn’t work! Swarmed twice.

2nd mistake
Then stuffed up when we thought there was a queen in there laying, when it was actually workers laying. Didn’t recognise the signs. Inexperience.

3rd mistake
Left it all too long and didn’t check often enough. (we looked every 2 to 3 weeks)

4th mistake
Should’ve taken the super off.
Plain stupid.

There are probably other mistakes, and would actually love to hear of any we didn’t realise we made.

We’re very sad, but we have learnt from it. I’d like to say it won’t happen again, but I’m not that stupid.

Our 2nd hive , which is actually the 1st swarm from the dead hive is going great guns and we harvested 10 litres from it today.
Highs and lows huh?

Still planning to come for a visit around Feb, if it works for you Pete. Desperate for a queen spotting lesson.

Thanks for everyone’s support and advice.

A minutes silence now for the yellow hive.

And 3 Cheers for the blue hive!



Always a spare bed for you both Ron and I will enjoy showing you around up here as well as visits to my apiary, a glass or two of wine and long chats.
I’m chuffed at how you do the extracting, same as my set up, I leave mine connected up over night so the chamber is totally drained when I close the frames the next morning.
Love the extra use of the spirit level :grin:
When I make a split I reduce the hive back to just a single brood box and add a super when it build up bee numbers again.
Keep your bee keeping simple and basic till you are really confident and then you will get a tick for bouncing any ideas you have to make improvements.
Have someone check your hive while you away, I do full inspections every two weeks up here, a lift of the roof between times can be good to, I had to feed my hives for a couple of months and realized the lack of nectar in the hives with just a ‘quick check’ that I realized they were running low on stores. There was lots of flowering in the bush but with the drought there wasn’t nectar in the flowers.
Cheers mate

Sorry about the hive , Ron:

Do like I suggested yesterday/Friday and shake the bees out.

If you can freeze the remaining brood frames they could still be useable.


Thanks for sharing your mistakes. I too can think at times to postpone inspections. I seem to forget about those blasted beetles and wax moths.


Hi Ron, as you say “Many lessons learnt” & it is very sad.

It’s never my experience to have wax moth take over a hive quickly. It’s always hive beetles that take over as fast as you describe.

A new colony wont take to the frames after beetle infestation like they would after wax moth infestations. Some close-up photos of the frames or grubs would confirm wax moth, beetle or both.

You did the right thing in my view of freezing everything until you get back.


In hindsight it probably is mostly beetle larvae.
Froze all but one frame yesterday, last one didn’t fit. Put it in the fridge. I’ll test it for AFB tonight before i freeze it too.
The local bee shop takes old dead frames and melts them down.


Beetle larvae happen very quickly. One week everything looks fine, nice & dry. A week later everything is wet & riddled with larvae. When that happens, it’ll be a 100% beetle larvae. In my experience, wax moth happens after a hive has died out. You often see one or two grubs within a healthy hive, but it’s never cause for alarm, at least for me.

In those 2 photos of yours, I can see previous beetle damage to the comb where the bees have overwhelmed the beetle larvae & cleaned it up. It’s evident by those channels & dips in the comb. In one photo, there is one fresh bit of damage to the comb caused by beetles before they lay eggs at the base of the cells. That may have been the start of this infestation, which the bees weren’t strong enough in numbers to overwhelm.

Thanks Jeff
Yep, that sounds like exactly what happened.
I’m not expecting to find any AFB, but doesn’t hurt to check.
Pretty sure it’s just beetles.

Once we removed the hive the remaining bees went away quite fast. Hopefully they didn’t just relocate to the good hive nearby. Didn’t see any disagreements at the front door of that one (which had a pretty decent beard on it from the inspection) so not sure where they went.

You’re welcome Ron, I never saw anything AFB related on those photos. However it doesn’t hurt to check.

The colony was probably weakened after issuing the swarms, then on top of that wasn’t successful with it’s new queen. Beetles will take advantage of those kinds of opportunities.

I hope your holiday goes well, cheers for now

Thanks for sharing your humbling post Ron. It’s easy to take for granted how fragile a colony can be if the stars don’t align…especially if you have a thriving colony… even within inches of each other

1 Like

Hang in there @RonM, you can’t know what you don’t know, but once you know you can’t not know it…so, the dots will start to connect more and more with every stuff-up.


I love your thinking Eva, after more than 45 years of bee keeping it is starting to make sense, till the bees decide we want to play a different game without telling me. :smiley::thinking::thinking: So much to learn about bees and so much should relate to our lives.