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Slime out of flow hive by small hive beetles


At the risk of revealing to the forum that I am a bit of an idiot, I’ll tell you how I caused a slime-out in my Flow hive. I outsmarted myself by making a less than perfect manifold to drain the frames. I connected all the tubes via a right angle bend into a collecting hose and bent this into a hole in a bucket. What I didn’t notice for about 10 minutes was that the tubes closest to the bucket had upward pressure placed on them by the bend in the hose. I woke up to the situation when honey started running out the entrance of the hive, covering many bees. The upward pressure opened up the bottom drainage holes in the frames. I went from standing in admiration at the back of the hive saying ‘how good is that’ to using a few choice words.
Unfortunately this is the sort of situation that the small hive beetle is quick to take advantage of, rushing to lay eggs. The end result was the bees absconded leaving a hive with a very large number of beetle larvae. I brought the hive home and cleaned it up; the Flow frames were easily cleaned with a cold water hose after removing the plugs and cracking the cells open.
I am confident that my redesigned manifold will work next time. I posted this as a warning to Flow beekeepers in SHB areas to think through any modifications.


That just sucks. You must have been so frustrated!

We are all here to learn from each other, and boneheaded mistakes are ones we can all benefit from. So kudos to you for letting your embarrassing situation be our classroom lesson.


Hi Mal, did the hoses have a tight fit on the bucket? All you needed was a vent for the air to escape or the lid sitting on top but not pushed down tight. It’s a great learning experience. Now if you do the same thing twice, then I’d think your an idiot. Be aware that the shb slime is a bee repellent, you need to clean everything thoroughly to remove all the slime.


Hi @MalA, after a lot more thinking about your situation. I wondered if your hive was tilted towards the back with a solid floor, if so, the honey wouldn’t drain out like it should, allowing lots of bees to drown in the honey. That is the situation the shb will cash in on, all the dead bees for the beetle to lay eggs in. Once hatched, the shb larvae exudes a slime which is a bee repellent. Causing the bees to eventually abscond. The main lesson to be learned in this situation is to fix something up straight away before the problem compounds into something far worse.


hello Jeff, it was the bend in the hose, not air pressure, that resulted in some drain holes being exposed. I’ve now got rid of the hose and replaced it with an acrylic tube which has a mitred ninety degree bend to turn it down into a bucket. The cleaned frames are as new after being hosed.
I only tilted the hive to the back for a while after the damage was done. The hive was very strong with a heavy honey flow occurring so lots of bees were trying to enter while honey was coming out the entrance. My critical mistake was not looking closely at my set up before letting the honey flow.
I am using a manifold to join the tubes together to see if this will expedite honey removal in the event I decide to use Flow frames in my commercial operation.
The beetles lay eggs in the brood frames in a hive which is disrupted and stressed, long before there are any dead bees to lay eggs on. There’s not much you can do after this happens. Try taking a strong single from above a split board, transfer it to a hive with a new bottom board and lid and leave it on top of the parent hive until dark. Load it on to your vehicle open entrance and unload it at a new site at dawn. If the night is a bit warm and bees are hanging out SHB may cause the hive to abscond by mid-morning. Examination of the combs will show the characteristic sheen new infestations produce. Before you ask, I do use beetle control methods when conditions warrant them.
Thanks for your input, Jeff.


Hi @MalA, your welcome. I wondered if it was kinked hoses after reading your story again. Sounds like your on top of things. I wasn’t going to ask, shb is writhe in my area, I don’t use any traps at all so I don’t ask people if they do. When they tell me they use traps, I just tell them I don’t. If you can get on top of the stress thing straight away, you can stop the beetle. I found a hive knocked over by cows recently, lucky I found it the very next day before the beetle got a chance to start laying. Actually what was in my favor was the hive was knocked forward & it landed on the front, the brood frames didn’t squash any bees between them otherwise it would have been a different outcome. Another time, quite a while back, I did find some beetle damage due to the cows, I got stuck into it & managed to clean things up & save the colony. After that experience & quite a few others, I’d almost call myself an expert on shb.