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SHB Larvae in the honey harvest


#1

I have a really heathy and productive hive. Brood box, flow super and an 8 frame super on top for honey comb.
I have one flow frame (#3) and I have got SHB larvae in the honey twice now.
I have a small amount of SHB. I have installed traps and the bees seem to manage them well.
I have not heard of anyone finding larvae in the honey- do I have to strip down the hive?
What do I do? I only ever see larvae in the honey harvest from that one frame. Never in the honey comb. Any ideas are welcome.


#2

A few larva guts will be extra protein for you :wink:

If it really “bugs” you, just take the frame out to inspect and then harvest in the kitchen.


#3

You could strain the honey through a fine mesh strainer. The larvae are not going to spoil the honey if you remove them right away.


#4

Hi Vee, I also have not heard of this before.
I’m asking Cedar and Stu about it now to try and get some feedback for you.


#5

Hi Vee,

That’s a little yucky, although if the hive beetle larvae aren’t too advanced the honey should be ok once strained. I have seen this once before.

I can think of two ways that this may occur:

  1. Beetles laying eggs on the comb. This normally happens when the hive is week although an opportunistic beetle can lay eggs in a strong hive too. A strong hive will clean this up so it generally goes unnoticed.

  2. I imagine a beetles could lay eggs in the honey trough if it could get in. This could occur if, some cells weren’t closed all the way after last harvest or there is a defect in the frame allowing a gap for a beetle to get into the trough. If you take a look in the trough area from time to time you may be able to see if this is happening. If the trough cap was left off this could also be an opportune moment for beetles to get in there perhaps.

Tiny drone brood larvae is another thing that can end up in the honey if the queen is in the Flow super and decides to lay eggs in the flow comb or the hive is queenless and workers start laying drones in the Flow cells. But bee larvae look different to hive beetle larvae, a little crescent moon in shape.

I would suggest keeping an eye on it and seeing if you can work out if there is an issue or if it’s simply the beetles laying a few eggs when they get an opportunity.

Happy beekeeping,

Cedar


I found larvae in the honey
#6

Hi Vee, I would certainly remove that frame & take a good look at it. Beetles don’t normally lay eggs in the honey without first removing the caps & walking honey all through the hive, turning it rancid with all of the combs looking wet (slymed) instead of dry. The honey will have a characteristic foul smell. I wouldn’t eat honey after SHB’s have done that. I would eat honey out of the comb that the beetles haven’t slymed on yet.

If you find SHB larvae in the honey frame, I would certainly check on the brood also.

Good luck with that, cheers


#7

I also had two flow frames with approx 4 SHB larvae in their honey troughs. I believe it was because I didn’t push the extraction cap in fully which left enough room for a beetle or larvae to enter.

I removed them and haven’t had them in the trough since, and made sure the caps where fully inserted.

Generally I only see around 1 to 5 SHB per hive per inspection.

Michael


#8

If you’re finding larvae in the honey troughs, I’d be wondering if it was wax moth larvae rather than SHB larvae. SHB like to lay eggs in brood, dead bees & pollen, I believe in that order of preference.

There could be bees or brood stuck in the flow cells after harvest which could account for SHB larvae, if in fact it is SHB larvae.

I believe that a wax moth would take advantage of a cap not fully inserted rather than a SHB. I base that theory on observations of my observation bee hive.


#9

Hi everyone
Well I stripped down the hive yesterday. The frames are clean and the beetle traps are working. Beautiful health robust hive. Spotted no slym or active SHB.
I did find a small gap in the frame at the back of the trough. The larvae is all right there. The gap is a tiny horizontial slit and the tension wire passes just under it. It is in the construction of the of the frame. The larvae is in the honey trough right under the slit.
I have removed the frame and placed a temporary standard frame until I can get it replaced.
So Cedar was right a gap in the frame and I am so relieved that I have found it.
Thanks everyone.
Vee.


#10

Hi Cedar
Well you were right. I have found a tiny gap in the frame/trough right at the back. All my comments are below (#9).
I have had to remove the frame and I will contact the office about getting a replacement frame.
Thanks for taking the time to personally respond and your comments really helped me to get to the bottom of the situation.
Looking forward to getting back on track.
Many thanks
Vee

Hi everyone
Well I stripped down the hive yesterday. The frames are clean and the beetle traps are working. Beautiful health robust hive. Spotted no slym or active SHB.
I did find a small gap in the frame at the back of the trough. The larvae is all right there. The gap is a tiny horizontial slit and the tension wire passes just under it. It is in the construction of the of the frame. The larvae is in the honey trough right under the slit.
I have removed the frame and placed a temporary standard frame until I can get it replaced.
So Cedar was right a gap in the frame and I am so relieved that I have found it.
Thanks everyone.
Vee.


#11

On a similar theme I am finding many as in 20-30 larvae in the cloth trap under the brood box. I’m a newby too and assume thay have been kicked down there by the bees? With so many should I be doing something else to eliminate SHB? Havent put flowhive on top yet but will when weather improves.Port Macquare NSW. I am wondering why there is larvae in the honey and can I do something to stop that before I our flow hive on?


#12

Hi Ken @mervturner52. Do you find 20 beetles daily? That would be a lot. Best to check your cloth daily and kill them. Also you could use oil traps between the frames in the brood box. My traps don’t fit between the flow frames. But I only find about 3 beetles/week now. The Apithor trap works really well, had one in for about 3 weeks.
Did you put your flow super on by now? Wonder how it’s going for you. The bees take a few weeks to fill the gaps before they deposit nectar.
I heard beeks saying it’s not a good honey season the last 2 or 3 months around here. Well, I wouldn’t know, as its my first year. I am very happy with my bees’ progress. Started with nuc end November and now the flow super is about 80% full and capped. That’s 10 weeks from nuc to almost full super. After the first harvest I will do a split - I think.


#13

20-30 larvae in the cloth trap sounds a lot to be wax moth. If it is bee larvae or SHB larvae, I’d be concerned. I would do a brood inspection to make sure that shb haven’t got started anywhere. The bees will get rid of bee larvae if the beetle has done any damage to it in any particular area. You might also find chewed up bits of wax if that is the case.

Do a thorough brood inspection & be careful when replacing frames that you don’t squash any bees between frames. Dead bees that can’t be readily removed by workers are a magnet for shb.


#14

Hi Vee, I’ve been following this conversation. I have the same problem; larvae in just one flow frame honey trough. Just started/first noticed about a month ago. I’m going to remove and inspect that frame tomorrow and replace with a std one as you have.


#15

My apiary has SHB all the time but the bees and I work together keeping things under control. Diatomite in the tray underneath gets changed every three weeks or so. Two handfuls is enough for one 8 frame base.

Each hive gets two AJ beetle traps baited with 2mL of red wine vinegar and 8mL canola oil. I try and replace the baits every 4 weeks. I have a supply of polythene, graduated 10mL test tubes with screw on lids I keep them charged with the bait mixture to make replacing the bait easier. I used to religiously clean out the traps but now I just lift off the lids, take a quick look and flick the contents onto the grass. Sometimes the outside of the trap needs to be scraped clean of wax and propolis.


#16

Hi Bob. I tried the beetle trap with about your recipe the last 5 weeks. Never caught anything in it. Do you ever have a beetle in it? Just wonder, because so far they appear useless here. I will persist though.
I have an apithor trap in one hive, but nothing in the other apart from the oil/vinegar trap.
Guess it’s all about being vigilant with the recent rains and humidity.


#17

Hi Ki’a’i. Your Apithor trap will be doing a very effective job at poisoning the SHB. The beetles are very mobile so your one trap is probably controlling both hives. I keep my Apithor traps in reserve and will probably install them before Julie and I leave for Europe next month.

Your brand new frame holding tool is still sitting on my Island bench. No trouble for me to drop it off in town for you.


#18

Thanks Bob. I know, been going down the hill via Uki recently to drive North. On my mind, see you one of the next days.
Actually, took the apithor out about 2 weeks ago. I think my Queen Lala colony hive should be strong enough to chase SHB out. The larvae I once saw were wax moths, but I was so grossed out that I got the apithor. Bit of an overreaction considering I want to keep away from poisons. Yet, I read there was no residue detected in honey or wax. Have you heard otherwise?


#19

Hi Cedar, I have a minor problem with SHB larvae in a couple of my honey troughs. I have an Apithor trap on the bottom board which I regularly inspect and remove up to half a dozen dead beetles every day. The last couple of harvests from the flow frames has come with a couple of larvae which I just pick out or filter out before storing. Yesterday I removed the two suspect frames, drained on the bench and inspected for faults/cracks or other potential forthe beetles to get in there. Found nothing out of the ordinary. But I did notice whern operating the flow hive key onthe bench that it has a tendency to flip to one side of the channel when being turned to open/close the frame. I noticed there was quite a bit of torsional deflection in the key while doing this and think this may result in some of the cells not closing off completely as you have suggested in this post that I’m replying to. I also has noticed a few beeks using two keys to operate the frames and wonder if this is because they have the same suspicions that I have or is it that it just makes it easier to operate the frames? I’d like to get hold of another key so I can test this theory in the field. Hoping you can find the time to read this post and respond…Bryan


#20

I also inspected the brood at the same time and all seemed very clean and healthy inside; no sign of beetle colonizing the brood or causing any amount of damage to the comb. Only one small hollowed out section of comb about same diameter as a little finger but all clean and tidy anyway.