SHB in SoCal - don't be complacent

No idea how effective it is, but we get a few every time we vape. I wouldn’t rely on it for SHB, but there is no question that some larvae fall onto the flashing every time we do it. They don’t die, btw, they are still moving. The Varroa are stone cold dead, by contrast.

1 Like

Geez, now wouldn’t be nice if we could kill SHB in the same process… so glad you have an effective method for getting rid of varroa. So after the varroa is killed in all your hives, how do they then manage to get back in to the hives considering they don’t have wings… is it robbing bees or something else?

Well, the thing is, you can’t kill 100%, unless your bees cluster. Even then, you probably can’t kill them all. Vaping OA kills about 97% of surface (phoretic) mites, and close to zero percent of those in capped cells. So if you vape a cluster, you will get most of them. Most people only vape clusters once.

In California, our bees don’t cluster in the coastal areas. They make brood all year. If you vape a brooding colony 3 times in a row, you will get a lot of the Varroa. But you will never get them all. If you take care of your colony, it will be strong enough to rob “mite bombs” from people who don’t treat at all… :thinking:

1 Like

Hi Dawn, are you sure that you are seeing SHB larvae? The beetles don’t get a chance to lay eggs at all in a healthy hive. You could be seeing wax moth larvae, hopefully.

A lot of people mistake wax moth larvae for beetle larvae & vise versa.

I’d like to see a photo, if you see them again, cheers

Varroa are carried from hive to hive by drones and drifting bees. There have been videos of mites lurking in flowers to jump onto foraging bees. The one I have seen looks staged. Maybe it was to show that it can happen
The single most important infestation after treating in the autumn is the robbing of collapsing colonies. Varroa change their habits when the colony is close to collapse, abandoning infesting any brood that is still being made to become phoretic. A bee can carry twelve varroa

1 Like

If you are thinking of the same video as me, it was staged. By Tom Seeley. He published a paper based on that video. :wink:

1 Like

Good point @JeffH. They looked too skinny and small (less than 1cm) to be wax moth larvae, but maybe they were very young’uns :wink: I will get a photo next time. We definitely have wax moths in the hive, but then who doesn’t? :blush:

Wax moth larvae start off skinny. You’ll notice with wax moth larvae that you can slightly see intestines through the skin, as it is slightly transparent.

Also you wont see the tiny hairs along the top that shb larvae have.

Also there will be some damage on the combs somewhere that the SHBs themselves make before they lay the eggs. Generally that will be on drone brood. Once you’ve seen that damage, you wont forget it. It’s easily recognizable.

I have lots of wax moth in my hives also. That is just par for course.

No drone brood right now. Our Italians are crazy enough to have babies all winter, but not crazy enough to make them drones. Probably a week or two before the drones are allowed again. :blush:

My local mentor says drone cells appear about 6 weeks before the first swarms. Last year, that was the 3rd week of December, if memory serves. :smile: First swarms were in early February in this area.

1 Like

Hi Dawn, also it may be getting too cold where you are for SHB to go in a breeding frenzy. They do that when it’s hot & humid.
They will breed in cold weather if the brood is unprotected. I doubt whether your colony is weak enough to have unprotected brood in it.
I’m seeing a bit of SHB activity myself at the moment because it is hot & humid. I’m seeing bits of damage on combs where the beetles chewed away, however the bees were able to prevent them from continuing on.
Last week I found some beetle larvae in some debris & chalk brood mummies on the floor behind an entrance reducer. That’s something I’ll have to look out for & avoid in the future.

1 Like

This works:

As briefly mentioned in another topic, a bloke who bought bees from me a couple of years ago delivered & donated his traditional hive to me yesterday afternoon after it had been sitting around for 12 months after a shb slime out.

I remember the bloke & how keen him & his children were to be getting into bees. They did a beautiful job on the frames with thick glue oozing out of the joints.

I learned something new. It was a complete mess. The shb were long gone. Wax moth did a lot of work & were still working on it. A rat had a bit of a go. There was plenty of cockroaches.

However, the thing that amazed me was the fact that nothing was touching the honey. Although a complete mess, most of the slimed honey was still in the comb.

I would have thought that the honey would have been consumed by SOMETHING ages ago. Not even ants.

After I boil it all down to retrieve the wax, I’ll dilute it right down to use with other stuff as a liquid fertilizer. I’m sure the worms will use it.


Makes me feel sick. What a waste of hundreds of thousands of bees trips. Prevention is key, and if you do all that you can, and you still lose the whole hive, that is sad.

I was convinced that I would lose the hive that I found 30 SHB in this year. However, I cleaned up (squished) the beetles, made sure that Varroa wasn’t weakening the bees, and now they seem OK. More than OK, they seem to be thriving. However, I won’t be complacent. It is up to me to stay vigilant.

Thanks @JeffH :smile:

1 Like

That’s for sure Dawn. Beetles arrived here in the year 2000, I seriously thought that my beekeeping days were over after I discovered beetles in my own hives. I’ve learned a lot about them since then. My first slime out was a hive that a cow knocked over several days before I discovered it. That taught me a lot.