Mould in bottom tray of Flow Hive 2

Hi Bee Lovers
First time to your Forum :slight_smile:
Can anyone please advise what can cause mould in the base poly tray where the oil goes to catch the bee droppings and debris from the hive for the Flow Hive 2? We Live in Western Australia and its Autumn at the moment temp ranges from about 25 down to 10 at the moment but we will be going into our winter soon. I clean it out about once a fortnight but this time there seems to be a lot more than normal-Should I stop filling it up with oil and try something else for winter? suggestions would be appreciated and does the mould affect the bees environment as it looks terrible
Thankyou and carnt wait for your replies

Hi Annie, welcome to the Flow forum! :blush:

Mould in hives is very common and most of it is harmless. If it is black, it is probably mildew. I would continue doing what you already are doing - cleaning the tray every 2 weeks. If you wanted to sterilize the tray, you could mix 1 part household bleach with 9 parts of water and soak it for about 15 minutes. Rinse it well and put it back in the hive. Chlorine bleach is not harmful to bees when diluted, in fact they often drink swimming pool water, which is pretty chlorinated.

The other consideration is that mould can be a sign of excess moisture and condensation in the hive. There are a few ways to reduce this problem, which is more common over winter in most climates:

  1. Make sure that the hive space is reduced to fit the population. A well-populated hive is more effective at ventilating it.
  2. Reduce the entrance to about 5-10 cm wide. Counterintuitively, this can improve the airflow from bees fanning.
  3. Consider making a “hive quilt” and insulating the hive roof. You can use the magnifying glass search tool at the upper right for lots of ideas on how to do this.

Generally you don’t need to worry about mould, but it is worth checking for moisture, as that can hurt bees in cold weather.


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Hi @FlowHive7 ,

Any organics, including what falls down from the hive. Polen, parts of dead bees etc.

Why do you use oil at all? So far WA was quite lucky regarding parasites. The main existing one is wax moth and ants may cause a nuisance. Oil is mainly needed for catching something that falls on the tray to prevent it from going back to the hive. We don’t have varroa of SHB so far, so there is no real need to use oil.

By the way, there is a local Perth group on this forum.

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