SHB damage or wax moth?

I am not sure whats causing this damage to my flow hive? I am finding this on the coreflute under my hive. I am in maryborough , Queensland Australia. My hive is only 4 months old and a single brood box. I have SHB traps which do have a fair few beetle in them. I fill the beetle blaster traps with DEarth. There is new brood and capped brood on my last inspection last weekend. The hive doesnt seem to be growing as fast as my other hive which is a standard 10 frame langstroth. I cant tell if that hive has the same prob due to no screen at the bottom. There were a couple of grubs on the board and what looks like dead brood.

Chalkbrood mummies plus a grub which could be wax moth or SHB.

Thanks dan, is that a lot of chalkbrood for just 1 week?

Not from my experience. You probably weren’t looking for chalkbrood in the cells when you looked last week. It often rattles around in the cells when you have a bad lot of it and as you tilt the frames, some mummies fall out. What I would do is have a look at the brood again and also remove any mummies caught in the screen at the bottom. There is a fair bit of work in doing that so perhaps use a mirror to look underneath after removing the corflute to see if there are mummies there for a start. What you are seeing on the corflute are the ones that have fallen through. You might have noticed from searching on the forum, that there are few suggestions for helping with it. I’m not sure if colonies will swarm up there this time of year, but generally a strong colony in a physically smaller space might help. How old is the queen?

I think that’s far too much chalk brood for me. I wouldn’t tolerate that much. Re-queen with a totally unrelated queen would be my advice.

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The queen is only 4 weeks old as the original queen from the nuc died , prob from me rolling her?. The hive was doing well until that happened. The new queen is laying lot’s of brood but it is spread out. I checked this morning and there were still a 20 chalkbrood in 1 frame. Not sure where i can buy a new queen around here in maryborough qld? There is mould also under the flow hive lid which i have drilled a few vent holes in. Should i treat the lid with vinegar or something?

Hi Robert,
Have you recently purchased or obtained the 4 week old queen? Did you buy it as a laying queen?

Chalkbrood is a tricky one to eliminate and has probably spread to your other hive by now. It is very common. As Dee has said - requeening with a unrelated queen would be a good idea - good if it is young too. The only thing is, you might be saying that you have a new decent queen anyhow, but not enough time has elapsed since you obtained it to tell if the colony will start doing better? In my experience, all sorts of problems (like you are describing) can happen from not having a queen in the hive for a while. Things like chalkbrood, wax moth and mould for instance.

Mould can be killed with a solution of household bleach (sodium hypochlorite) but I am suspicious that you have too much room in the hive for the quantity of bees you have in there and it might be hindering recovery from the chalkbrood (perhaps wax moth too) and the mould. How packed is the hive? What is the configuration at the moment? Do you have the Flow super on above the brood box?

There does not appear to be a settled answer in relation to the ventilation issue (holes v’s no holes etc) so I won’t give my opinion on that.

It’s my understanding that excessive moisture and lack of ventilation within the hive is the main cause of the chalkbrood spores.
@Dee, if you have a great queen but have moisture and ventilation issues won’t Chalkbrood still occur if the spores are present?

It was an emergency queen they made themselves. The hive atm is an 8 frame flow hive with an inner cover and no super. The frames are all drawn except 1 plastic foundation that they are making some weird comb on. I might remove it and put a wax one in. The outer frames are being filled with honey and there is about 5 frames of brood which has chalkbrood scattered through them.

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The OP has two hives.One has chalk brood. One is doing great the other isn’t. What is the difference between the two colonies?
I keep my hives in wettest Wales. Never get chalk brood

Hi Robert,
Thanks for the further info.
There may be nothing much you can do in reality at the moment. I have had problems with chalkbrood in my hives. It all started with a period of queenlessness. The worst hive in particular, recently replaced the queen themselves through supercedure. Like you, I need to give that queen time. Things seem to be improving somewhat. Before the new supercedure queen I tried a variety of the usual things to help (feeding, banana skins etc.) and they seemed to work for a bit, but probably a good unrelated queen like Dee has said would have been great. I had/have Buckley’s chance however of purchasing a queen bee in Tasmania and even tried the mainland fruitlessly for a while too. If it is the same there, you are probably stuck with what you have, so perhaps see how it goes for the next while and perhaps use some sodium hypochlorite (household bleach) solution on gloves and equipment between hives in case the other one doesn’t have it.

Hi Dee, my flow hive with the problem is recovering from queenlessness whereas the other hive is standard langstroth that also was a nuc but i had been given extra two full brood frames 6 weeks ago. It is now booming and i put a super on it 1 week ago. They have fully drawn out 6 frames in the super and half filled 2.

What do bananas do for chalkbrood? Do the bees eat the banana or is the gases? How does changing the queen fix a mould problem?

Banana skins have a smell like alarm pheromone. It makes the bees antsy, and the theory is that it goads them into throwing out unhealthy brood. I have never tried it myself.

The only thing I have to add to the posts above, is that it would be worth making sure that your hive gets enough sun. If it is shaded, that will make any humidity worse, and that can result in water dripping into the hive over night if it gets chilly. That will just prolong any chalkbrood problems.

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What I am thinking is that if the new queen produces bees that can reduce the chalkbrood, the hive will have a greater number of bees in it and will therefore be able to ventilate the hive better, reduce the humidity inside and consequently also the mould.

Thanks Dawn, my hives are in full sun till 3pm. It has been very hot 33 deg and dry so im not sure why i have mould under the lid? Maybe the moisture from the hive is getting trapped? I have drilled 2 x 16mm holes in the lid and sealed them with mesh. Hoping that lets the air flow better. Not sure why FLOW would not make them with good airflow? Also i have trouble with SHB hiding in all the gaps in the roof, i need to fill up all the small hiding places with builders bog or similar.

They have the better queen

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Some bees are susceptible to chalk brood. One thing you never see in hygienic hives is chalk brood as the bees don’t tolerate it. This is down to genes. Hence the requeening. A damp horrid hive will encourage chalk brood in any bee however

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Hi Robert, the flow roofs leak badly. I was given a flow hive. I recognized the problems with the roof straight away. It had turned a very dark color. After fixing up the splinters, I gave the top, plus under the gable ends 3 thick coats of water based white paint. Then I sealed under the gable with silicone. I also sealed all of the underside gaps with silicone to eliminate all of the hiding places for SHB.

The roof is now waterproof, therefore no mold will form under the roof, eliminating the need for extra ventilation.


Thanks Jeff, we had a storm last night so i checked the hive this morning and found water on the top inner cover. You were right the lid was leaking. I have now done the same as you and siliconed up the lid everywhere. Also now i have strapped some corrugated iron over the roof for water and sun protection. The leaking roof must have been the problem all along!!. I wish FLOW would have highlighted the waterproofing when i bought the hive!!:expressionless: