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Mite spotting and Small Hive Beetles (SHB)


We had no bees out tonight as it was a bit cold.

I was with a group looking at a frame of Drone Comb that was inspected yesterday and the inspector suggested it be removed.

So we decapitated some Drones in the interest of science, inspections, and this is the results

can you see 2 mites?

None here I can see

Couple on here


Various Stages of Drone life cycle


Drone Cell Frame

Icing sugared Bees to look for Verroa Mites

Assortment of Drones


Horrible thing, uncapping drone comb. I hate it.
5 mites per 100 drones is considered a heavy infestation.
I’d rather sugar roll.


There were a dozen or more I only photographed a few.

No not an infestation but the inspector wanted the drone comb removed.

It was a good hands on education


Why? If it is not an infestation, why do this? I am so glad that inspector was not on my land, we would have had WORDS.

Bees build drones to the numbers they need. It’s small wonder so many queens fail these days and bee stock is going down the loo. They have no strong drones.


I think in a controlled & managed hive, the drones are not required. A life is a life I know, however the mites are attracted to drones and like a sacrificial lamb they are lured away from the worker brood and destroyed. Its a harsh reality. Looking at this Valli, it would make me want to pack my bags and head off back to Oz where there are no mites.


Are the screened mite trap bottom boards all that effective for controlling/eliminating mites? How effective is culling the drone brood at controlling/eliminating mites?


it would make me want to pack my bags and head off back to Oz where there are no mites.
I never kept bees till after varroa…sigh.
Wait till we get SHB!!!
I find a good way to control varroa in my apiary is to sacrifice the first comb of brood after an artificial swarm. Most varroa will be in that one frame.
Similarly, brood-less colonies can get all the phoretic mites zapped with an oxalic vape and all is well till drifting bees bring in more mites.
There is something to be said for encouraging the bees to manage their own infestations and they seem to do this best by keeping all the honey they need for their own needs (i.e. not being fed sugar) and by allowing them to manage their own brood nest with their own wax.


Must be something about “what you don’t understand scares you” … didn’t realise you don’t have SHB. Lets hope it will stay that way. SHB has the ability to slime your hive within a week with the bees absconding, most beekeepers don’t realise until it’s too late. You won’t find me making any comment on Mites, hats off to you for dealing with it and getting on with enjoying beekeeping.


It was not my hive or inspection. We just got the Drone comb to learn from. This bee keeper is using drone cell frames to get better honey? Apparently there is less wax to lay and therefore more Honey. There was some prize for this comb last year. The use of the drone comb is a bit of an experiment - but the inspector said it was a Verroa factory in the making. I can see where the Beek and the inspector are both coming from if it were a personal choice I would just use normal cell frames.

[quote=“Rodderick, post:7, topic:2180”]
Looking at this Valli, it would make me want to pack my bags and head off back to Oz
[/quote] Perhaps when hubby retires - he’s English and works here, I made my choice 27 odd years ago - I have been home recently - My Mum lives near Bryon now, originally we were Melbourne peeps

@adagna An experience beek have never seen the hive - but when the inspector calls ya sorta have to comply


A few degrees warmer in Byron than Melbourne Valli. Also, that part of the world has the highest concentration leptospermum (australian manuka) in the country. If you could convince your mum to setup a few hives it could be a nice little money earner at $60 a kilo or thereabouts.


She’s 85 almost - she uses the computer and internet but don’t think bees would go down well - I took her some Honey from Kuranda from the Honey Shop - Very nice.

She had heard of Flow and was interested when I said I bought one


Screened Bottom Boards (SBBs) help you see what is going on in your hive. I whip mine out every time I am in the beeyard, and it reveals everything from pollen, wax cappings, to small hive beetles. I hear they are very effective at helping with mite counts by placing white paper ruled into square inches onto the bottom board and waiting 24 hours before counting the mite drops. Apparently there are significantly fewer mites in hives with SBBs.


Here is the thing: fewer drones equals less honey production, and a smaller gene pool for the queens when they mate. I have to disagree that in a controlled and managed hives drones are not required. The bees certainly don’t seem to agree.


fewer drones equals less honey production, and a smaller gene pool for the queens when they mate??

How do you work that out. If the Queen is laying workers instead of drones, there will be more honey. Yes I agree there will be less genetic diversity but I heard recently Queens try to mate with non-hive drones.


Firstly, I think a huge part of the problems within beekeeping is that we are forever trying to “make” bees do something - like making queens lay workers and not drones by destroying drones and drone comb when totally unnecessary. We are fighting the bees and will end up with what the bees need/want anyway in drone numbers and comb.

So let’s just say everyone wipes out drones until there are only a few left in each hive. Those drones mate with a queen (from a different hive, so you have offered the queen of another hive fewer mates). As there are now fewer drones in the world, there is a shrinking gene pool. And, for all we know, the drones that survived the culls might just be the most pitiful of all the drones.

Regarding honey production, I agree with Michael Bush on this: “If you try to limit the number of drones your production will decrease”. My belief is they divert energy from getting on with other things back to replacing all that was destroyed by the beekeeper, and that this has a chain effect. Effectively, the beekeeper has set the clock back for the entire hive. End result, less honey.


I may be being thick so let me reiterate what I think you are saying.

Because we destroy the drones; the Queen made them for a purpose, to swarm and split herself from the hive, to allow a new Queen to take over the old hive. By destroying the drones, the Queen needs to make more drones to replace the lost ones, therefore taking workers from honey, pollen production to rear more drones to carry out the Queens plan?

The nurse bees tend the larvae and will only go out to forage once the reach a certain age, but instead of attending more workers they are re-rearing drones?

I can sort of see that, but if the drones tend to carry Verroa, therefore by inspecting drone cells/larvae (a small percentage), then the health of the hive can be preserved and Mites dealt with before they become a problem so the argument becomes a moot point - chicken and egg scenario

Personally I would not have had drone cell frames, just let the queen and nurse bees attend to making drones as they see fit, but at the same time if there is an infestation, nipping the problem in the bud may well save the hive collapsing still allowing the Queen to swarm off and a Virgin Queen enough genes in the pool for diversity.

I would not cull all the Drones but a sample needs to be done to check hive health. And prevention is way better than losing the whole hive


An infestation is an entirely different matter and there are several options on how to proceed to treat.

Swarming, by the way, is the bee’s way of creating a brood break, and controlling mites.


@SowthEfrikan i had not heard this, here is South Carolina SHB are a pretty much a way of life, you do what you can to control them with traps but they are just going to be there. I have been told a good thing to do is use a drench on the ground under a hive as that is where a lot of eggs fall and hatch the following season so i might give that a try next winter.

Beetle jail, SHB trap. Thoughts?