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SHB Larvae infestation!...Now What?


Thanks I will look at doing that or moving a board or two of bees from the stong hive to the weak one.
My hives are right next to each other since I did a side by side split this spring. My only concern about swapping positions is that besides the position, my two hives look totally different. The strong one is the FlowHive setup. The weak split is a plastic Apymae hive. It is a different color and material, (plastic with a white roof vs wood and a brown roof) and it has a totally different entrance design, (permanent mouse guard \ reducer built into it vs open). So I know bees come back to the same location but would they go in if the house at the expected location is totally different like this. The last thing I’d want is to have more bees fly off because they did not want to go into a different structure in the same location.
My Hives

Stock photo of the Apimaye hive entrance on right

Right now I have the weak hive set up as a nuc. Using the 4 remaining boards and a divider system which closes off half the box to reduce empty space. Either way, I need to do something ASAP as there are very few bees now.


Honestly Nick, the shape or color of the hive wont make any difference. What I would do is reduce them both to single boxes. You can move the stronger hive a couple of meters away. That will insure that the returning bees do go into the weak hive. This is a similar principle to how I use a lure box for a trap-out.

The only thing that I can think of that would stop the returning bees from entering the other hive is if there is a strong odor of SHB slime wafting out.

Once a few of the returning bees take to the new hive, the rest will follow.

In reducing the strong hive to one super, pick the best looking comb to use & place some in the weak hive.

Hi @Dan2, not really. It’s the $80 queen to consider & a few hundred bees is hardly enough to start from scratch with.

This is my video of doing what I suggest.

plus an update.

I hope these videos help. cheers


I went into the failing hive with 4 boards this morning to consider doing what you have suggested. 2 days ago I saw the queen. Today no sign of her. Now I am no good at spotting queens but she has a big red dot and only 4 boards and not a lot of bees to check. See no egs, bee larva and maybe a handful of brood cells…like maybe 6 total. I checked them all several times and looked down into the bottom but saw nothing. I picked out 6 beetles and 2 shb larvae…so I assume more are on the way soon.
Looking in the “strong” hive, even though there are a good population of bees, it is not overflowing…more concerning still, even after requeening, I am just not seeing any eggs or bee larvae…only spotted brood pattern on maybe 5 of the 20 boards and they mostly appear bumped up like drone brood. I just have no idea what is going on. Lots of honey on most all of the boards. A few new boards put in several weeks ago have very little drawn out. I fear while it looks healthy now, it is on the edge of failing in the same manner as the other one. I saw the new queen in there a few days ago but she is not laying that my eyes can see and there are now a couple of the larger cups being made, so I assume they are trying to make a new queen because the current new one is not performing or is also now gone.
So that leaves me with what to do?
Time to give up on the failing hive? If yes, what about the remaining bees should I shake the remaining bees from there into the 1st hive?..I’d hate to just watch them die out. Do I pull the remaining 4 frames and freeze them before they get worse?


Hi Nick,

I can’t think what you can do and your climate there in Augusta is way different to anything we have in Australia. Really hot summers and really cold winters.
If it were here, given the situation you describe, I would be trying to get the size of the Flow set up reduced to say two boxes rather than the three to help the bees defend the place better but I realise you will need lots of stores for your bitter winter. Perhaps reduce the boxes to get them stronger and then feed in late summer early fall? They will fit into two. Check it for eggs and worker brood in a couple of weeks? Is there any natural nectar source there at the moment? Just a thought from a totally different climate.

No ideas sorry about the little colony.


You probably have just one queen excluder which would be on the Flow set up, but if you had another one, you can sieve the bees through an excluder to find a queen. Eggs are really hard to see particularly through a veil. Do you need to use reading glasses at all and are you getting the cells in sunshine to look at them? Just another couple of thoughts anyhow.


boards = frames? Please use accepted terms, it helps me to not get confused. :blush:

Done any Varroa counts? I don’t mean looking at bees, I mean sugar roll or alcohol wash:

I just lost a hive to Varroa in a nectar dearth. I was probably about 2 weeks too late in treating. That hurts the ego, but the bees paid the ultimate price. Varroa can hit at any time, just be alert. :disappointed_relieved:


Your comb is valuable. It needs to be protected. Remove frames that are not being used. If you have fire ants they will clean frame fairly well. I drowned many in small kiddy pool. Tap frame on concrete and step on them as they fall out. Hose down and freeze for day if you have the space. Inspect weak hives to make sure they are OK. Figure out how you will trap hive beetles. Many cheep options. It happens. The school of hard knocks. Good luck


If you can’t find the queen in the weak colony, it’s probably not worth saving.

It doesn’t sound like you have a good queen in the strong colony because it sounds like the only brood you have is drone brood. Some photos would help confirm. I’d certainly do what the others suggest & reduce down to 2 boxes or even one.

If your queen isn’t laying fertile eggs, that colony is also doomed. You’ll need to try & purchase a nuc with a good queen, or some frames with fertile eggs or very young brood so that the colony can make a new queen.

Do you have a good local mentor? At this point in time a good local mentor could be gold.

Yesterday a mentee turned up at my door with a bucket of lemons from his tree as well as 3 dozen eggs from his chooks. That certainly wasn’t necessary, however it was very much appreciated. He got my undivided attention for a couple of hours. That’s something to think about.


3 dozen is a lot of eggs to get through Jeff… pavlova or custard time?


Hi Jack, they’re very fresh :slight_smile: Wilma makes baked Bunya nut custard.

That bloke is VERY appreciative. Yesterday I got a phone call from his boat. “I just landed a 4ft. what I think is a Blue Fin Tuna, do you want him?” My reply “yes please!!!”. He replied. “meet me at the boat ramp after I phone you again”. I replied, “no worries”.

So after a couple of hours bee work this morning, I’ve got a nice tuna as well as a nice squire to cut up. I’ve got them well iced in the mean time.

Wilma said “sushi!!!”


I found an individual in the local club who was nice enough to give me a few boards of brood yesterday. The queen which I spotted a few days ago is no longer anywhere to be found and it looks like there is a closed queen cell on one of the boards in the bottom box. There is still a decent but dwindling population of bees for two boxes. Hopefully the three new frames of brood and some eggs will help that out temporarily and either stir the current queen to lay or, provide enough bees until the new queen emerges. This gentleman said there was too much honey and not a lot of space to lay so he had me remove the 4 heaviest honey boards, (I removed the Flow Hive Super as well which was only partially filled) and had me replace them with the built out frames I had cleaned from the failed (SHB larvae disaster) hive…so hope they are ok with those frames.
If the queen is now gone, would she have left on her own or is the new queen cell a sign they would have or planned on killing her? I looked at all frames several times and did not find her even though she was marked but I’ve missed her before. If she is still there somewhere if \ when a new queen emerges, who wins out?
I may still drop to 1 box if I don’t see the population pick up I guess. Everyone says I need to have enough bees to really cover the frames, but also I’m told here, (In Missouri), you usually need 2 boxes deep for them to survive over winter.
This has been very interesting but a LOT of work and so far a lot of disappointment…I try to soak up as much advice as possible but I am still probably doing all kinds of things wrong or at the wrong time.


Frames, please. Hard to understand when you don’t use standard names for hive parts! :thinking:


  1. frames of brood
  2. heaviest honey frames

Boards implies solid wood to me, and I am wondering if you have some weird kind of hive. :blush:


Hi Nick, well done on getting those 3 boards of brood :wink: Those frames will boost the colonies chances of survival. If it was me & I could see very young larvae or worker eggs in those frames (boards), I’d tear that single queen cell down, because it could be, as I found recently, a dud.

I’ll talk later, cheers


wow! a fresh entire Tuna. Unbelievable. you will be eating like a King and a Queen for some time to come Jeff. I need to get to a point where I have similar mentee’s… I never heard of Bunya Nuts until I read about your huge harvests. Now I want to try roast Bunya Nut custard…


The queen cell I think is new as of last week and is on one of my existing frames, not one of the recently added frames. I looked at every board last week. It is big so I would definitely have seen it. It appears completely closed up. And coincidentally, (or maybe not?) I have not seen the marked queen this week. So if the one I bought is really go e I think I’d want this one to emerge and hopefully pick up the action since the last one was not laying.
I have no idea what happened to her and the one before her this year. I checked (very low count then) and treated for Varroa in late feb but should check again.


Often in a dearth the nurse bees pull the eggs as fast as queen lays them. Leaving only a few. Nurse bees also get tight with royal jelly .Your queen might be fine. Any pollen coming in? If no protein bees use brood as protein bank. Perhaps freezing some frames to kill hive beetles larva will help that issue. If you make it through the summer heat you should get a decent fall build up.


Hi Jack, it turned out to be a Pacific Bluefin Tuna. Not 4ft, closer to 3ft. a nice fish just the same. I should have weighed it. It’s the first time I cut a larger tuna. I definitely wouldn’t get a job at any sushi bar, that’s for sure. I still have one fillet to cut up after lunch & before I get back down to the bees. I scraped any flesh left on the back bone off with a spoon, like the Japanese do. I’d better stop waffling & get back to it, cheers


Hmm. I reckon my extra earnings around here would be more like private kirtan sessions or something osteopathic, neither of which I’m overly keen on.
Our son hosts a hive, but he always supplied us with fresh fish.


I see bees with pollen on them still. Most of the boards are full of mostly uncapped honey and pollen…hence not much place for eggs anyway. I did ad din some of the cleaned frames with foundation from the other hive that did not make it and hope whichever queen, old or new, starts using it. I did not know they would eat their own eggs? …Couldn’t that lead to their demise themselves? I am going to check in 2 more days, on Sunday to see what if anything is happening with that queen cell. I left it go since there was no sign of a queen…not sure what to look for…I can hardly find a marked queen much less a new unmarked one.


I often do not look for queen. Once I see eggs or young larva I know there is a queen. I am done. The best place to look is were brood just emerged. The queen tends to fill then fast. I mark frames that I want to check with a penny so it makes next inspection fast.
Pulling eggs is a way for bees to control population of hive. Your main flow is probably ending (not sure) so bees reduce population. This can resemble a queen less hive.