I've been slimed....NOW what?

1st time posting here though I am a regular reader/ lurker :slight_smile: I am hoping the vast experience of this group can give me some guidance.

Background: I am a 1st year beekeeper and unfortunately the bees suffer while I am on my learning curve. I am in SE USA where SHB are a horrible problem.

I found my largest hive completely infested with SHB today. I broke apart the hive, took the clean frames & placed in a new box with brood from another hive. All the frames with SHB larva…oh my! The sunshine brings out the larva and I am putting them in the freezer because I don’t know what else to to with the slimed frames. Do I just cut out all the comb and toss/ burn/ what? Or can any of it be salvaged by washing after freezing? All the info on the net is about control but little to nothing info on what to do at this point in time.
Any suggestions?

BTW, love this forum!— Pam

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Wish I knew what to tell ya on the Beatles. I am sure the frame freezing helps but told the best protection is a large healthy colony.

So far we are blessed not to see Beetles up in my apiary in Wasgington state. I’m guessing it’s just a matter of time here too.

I know I treat wax moths with freezing n that seems to help. I also check n clean my SBBoard every couple weeks or less. That seems to give me a reference what’s up inside the hives.

I’m guessing someone will soon spot your S.O.S. Signal n come to your rescue. So stay afloat there young lady n don’t give up the ship,

Good luck n I’ll keep watch to see who jumps up to help ya SOON !

Thank you Gerald. I actually think the trigger for the huge change in 1 weeks time was the 2nd thymol mite treatment. Brood has been down for the death and since thymol can reduce brood making, I guess the hive was weakened just enough. Thymol instructions said to close the screened bottom board but I think the SHB just took advantage of the corrugated plastic to lay in the channels. I am going to seal the edges with some silicone for any future use. SHB are an unbelievable problem here in the South. :angry: Evidently the climate closely mimics their country of origin.

Hi Pam,
So sorry to hear the beetles got to your hive, what happened to the bees? Were you able to move them to the new hive? You will need to watch the new hive very closely, with so many beetle larva there will be more hatching from any brood frames that you moved over.
As for the slimed frames, the freezer is the best way to go to kill all the larva and eggs so well done. To clean up, cut out all the wax wrap tightly in plastic bag and throw in the bin, then use warm sudsy water to wash all the frames and after a few hours in the sun they will be all ready to go again. If you like you can process the dirty wax but its a messy job. Fingers-crossed the new hive will be ok but check it regularly, clean out any larva you see and squash every beetle.


I don’t actually know how to measure how well they are doing…such a newbie no experience to make a comparison. :frowning: Should I put the frames in new boxes? I sorta suspected there would be more hatching but don’t really know how to approach it. Smoke the bees off the frames then shake the larva off into a plastic tub (or something). If I just shake the frame, bees & all, then won’t the larva still be in the hive? I would like to keep this hive but this is a real conundrum. --Pam

If there are a lot of bees, then you could shake the bees off into a new hive and treat it like a swarm. They will require regular feeding of sugar syrup to rebuild their wax comb and if you are close to winter then this may be too late in the season. The alternative is to place any non-slimed brood comb with bees attached into a new box (if the old box is a mess), this could be a temporary Nuc. Every couple of days, go into the box and squash every beetle you see (tweezers are handy to squash beetle on the comb) and remove as much larva as you can (again tweezers will do it) place the hive or Nuc over a tray of water so any larva leaving the entrance will drop and drown. You’ll have to be brutal, but its the only way. Let us know how you go.


Oh, THANK YOU!! Good solid advice is just what I needed. I have searched the web and everything I have found so far is all about controlling before you get to this point in time and not what happens after. The idea of treating it as a nuke seems doable to me and makes a lot of sense. I will get back out there tomorrow morning and start paring down and just have a single box hive and see what happens. Good suggestion on the tweezers too. Do I need to look daily for the next week or is every other day OK? The rest of my hives are fine…this was the only one that got away from me.

Thanks again!


Hey Pam, if you are ok to look daily and your weather is warm enough then I think that will keep you on top of them. Beetles can get out of hand very quickly and I would hate for you to suffer. best of luck with it.

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Actually, I’m not the one suffering :wink: but thanks for the sentiment and the advice. Up, up and away to the bee yard!!!

Day 3 after sliming found: Thought the group might want to know how this is going.

Just in from checking every frame in the now smaller hive. Not a SHB larva to be seen YAAAAAY!
Maybe this little hive can be saved after all :relieved:

Many thanks Gerald & Roderick


Last update on this: There must have been 100’s of thousands of eggs in the comb so I finally gave it up and dismantled the hive. :cry: Dumped the bees on the ground so they can beg into another colony and have frozen the remaining frames. I am laying out the frames (after a good long freeze) for the other hives to clean the comb & scavenge what they can.

Many thanks for the help, experience & support of this forum. --Pam

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Sorry to hear this Pam, thanks for all the updates.At least you have more than 1 hive?

Hi Kirsten, I started with two really great nukes this past spring and made a successful split in June. So now I guess I am back where I started with two hives but with a little more experience :slight_smile:

On the bright side, I am now learning about recycling wax-- looks like I will have about four 8 frame boxes to melt down and make into sheets for next spring. Trying to decide whether to just put in blank sheet (certainly the easiest thing to do) or go to the trouble of making a silicone press. Hmmmm, maybe I will start a new thread on this and see what others on the forum have tried.

Well I appreciate you sharing your experience with us & glad you have more bees to go on with. Maybe another split when the time is right?
I saw on ebay .I think, an ‘antique’ mould for foundation, originally from Germany, but being sold in the states. It was pretty expensive though, $400 approx.
It would be fun to make your own. I have a 3D printer, I might play around with making some moulds myself.

Yo Pam From Down Under ,
This is the Captain speaking , how are you . Just a few ideas to try and reduce the beetle attacks . * reduce the hive entrances to about 1 " this gives the guard bees more chance to defend .
* place simple beetle traps -diamataceous earth powder or oil traps -neither introduce chemicals and you can clean them to check levels .
* we have a slotted bottom board for such situations , the bees harry the beetles down the slots the bees cannot follow . The earth or oil trap below finishes them off .
* Closely inspect all your bee box lids , bottoms and joins for gaps . Little beetles can hide inside these . Re- plane warped or poor fitting equipment , repainting helps ( a good oil or wax dipping is always good for the timbers ) this helps seal cracks and gives the bees a fighting chance .
* Finally add a fresh frame of brood to the hives to re-energise the hive with strong workers , choose a frame with 1-3 day old eggs so if you have a failing queen , they will supersedure her and you will know more about your hive strength .Repeat this for 3 x weeks in a row and your hive will be resilient and strong
Hope this helps - cheers David

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Hi Kigsten ,
They are rare but pop upin australia also . Watch out for cell sizes as big cells are no good . The rubberized mould skin can be replaced , and i bet they are or will soon be made in China a lot cheaper !
How is the Gorilla Planting Going ?

Sorry -Kirsten - my glasses needed a polish !

Thanks for all the tips and advice David. This happened so quickly it really took me by surprise. Unfortunately by the time I managed to reduce the hive and add brood it was just too late. SHB larva were hatching faster than either me or the bees could handle so I just dumped the bees into other hives and am breaking down the infested foundation. After a good long time in my freezer I am currently offering the frames to the other hives for scavenging/ cleaning.

I am right there with you on sealing all the cracks…am looking at closed cell foam tape as one beek gave it a good review for sealing up hives — http://www.equalseal.com/White-Polyethylene-Closed-Cell-Foam-s/2187.htm Not horribly expensive and worth trying. We will see if it holds up to the nibbling bees and the prying apart of hive boxes.

I am slowly learning—unfortunately at a cost to the bees :disappointed_relieved::disappointed:

this is the Captain again , sounds like you are on to it and getting some good advice .,
I tried to overwinter 4 x nukes and it is a wet spring in se Australia . I too lost colonies with new bought queens . One to a sustained wasp attack -5 x different species of wasps i observed , one to a starvation problem - i fed too late and i had a mass bee die out . - no queen either -bugger .
One nuke is powering ,5 x frames in a dedicated nuke box readyto go full size within weeks . One slow and steady with 3 x frames covered in bees ,1 x frame stores . It is just marking time and should pick up soon .
I will add a full brood frame and another stores foame this week and watch !
i am lucky to be able to do x 9 - 11 ish splits this year and will have surplus brood and pollen frames .
I anticipate a tremendous spring flowering after obove average rainfall this year so spring should be great . II am busy tappety tap tapping slip slop slapping paint everywhere - i do the painting in a trailer i need to paint and every day i paint , the trailer gets spots and spills all over and i clean my brush up on the trailer as well . Have a great journey in the bee world , have fun , make friends and focus on the little things that collectively make such a big picture .
cheers "The Captain .

Sorry David, I somehow missed replying to your post. Thanks for heads up, I won’t buy one as I’m going to be using foundationless. I just thought it would be fun to see if I can make one?