I inspected the hive today and the attached video was taken. Yuk! Larvae chalking all over this frame of honey. I believe they are SHB larvae. Is that correct? What do I do?
Hi Brick, I think you need to remove the honey frames that the SHB larva has invaded. Can you reduce your hive in size to allow the bees to be more protective? They are more effective with smaller spaces. If a 2 brood box, reduce to a single. And if it is a single brood box then reduce to a Nuc. Pick off all the larva you can find. Sorry to say those honey frames are no longer much use, the SHB larva leave behind a yeast that will ferment the honey and turn it to slime.
Here is Australia, we don’t have Varroa but the SHB can be detrimental to our hives, many beekeepers here lose their hives to SHB on a regular basis.
Thanks for the response. The frame in the video is all honey, no brood, so it would not be too hard to dispose of it. The hive currently has 2 brood boxes with the bottom box being fairly empty. I could reduce the hive to one brood box if that would help. Ho else do I combat SHB going forward?
I agree with @Rodderick, throw out the frames which have those wet-looking tracks under the cappings. That looks just like SHB damage, and the honey will not be edible for you or the bees.
There are a few things that you can do to help with battle against SHB:
- Do not squish bees and don’t leave dead bodies in the hive. Those bodies are prime food for SHB larvae. They like brood too, but you can’t do much about that. Move slowly and gently, so that bees have time to get out of the way when you remove frames or move boxes around.
- Keep the hive as strong as possible, as @Rodderick suggested. Only add a box when the existing one is 80-90% full of brood or food, and every frame is completely covered with bees. That way the bees can chase off the adult SHB. SHB larvae don’t smell like adults, so the bees don’t attack the larvae. However, they will vigorously chase and bite the adult SHB. The key is to have enough bees chasing the adults so that they don’t get a chance to lay eggs.
- Squish any adult SHB you see. Ick, I know, but they are actually pretty dry and don’t make a mess when you do it.
- Consider using a beetle trap. I use beetle blasters and the oil provided by Mann Lake if I see more than a couple of adults in a hive. One trap in the top box is usually sufficient:
- I also water the ground around my hive with nematodes which parasitize migrating SHB larvae. It doesn’t directly help the hive, but it does stop any SHB offspring from going back to the same hive once they have tried to pupate in the soil. Here are the ones I order:
I just water them in using an old (empty and washed out) Miracle-Gro hose end sprayer. Very easy job.
Just a few ideas for you!
Thank you Dawn. A very informative and detailed post. I will take your advice.