Small Hive Beetle Larvae on solid bottom board bottom

Just had a hurricane in Florida and rain water got into the solid bottom board of the hive and pooled there (for possibly 2 days). Once I was able to get in there to inspect, I found small hive beetle larvae on the solid bottom board swimming around in the “trash” of the hive. I did not notice damage to the brood or honey. I wiped out all the water and larvae and burned it. Then tipped the hive a 1/2in to help water drain.

Did I get lucky and the bees defended themselves and dumped them to the bottom? Or am I in for a spoiled hive? Does this just happen sometimes that SHB take over despite having mineral oil traps? Anyone in Florida able to speak to solid bottom board vs screened bottom board? Thank you!

Hello and welcome!

If your hive is strong then they should be able to keep the beetles at bay, regardless of traps and such.

They were probably not able to clear the debris with the wet muck which allowed the SHB larvae to develop. Maybe those larvae were dropped from the comb or maybe they developed on eggs laid there.

The argument that @JeffH makes in favor of solid bottom boards - that the bees have full access and can clear the bottom of the hive, which they are unable to do with screened bottoms.

Hope you didn’t have too much trouble with Idalia otherwise!

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Hi Kari, I also welcome you to the forum. I think you got lucky by acting quickly. Not seeing any damage to the brood is always a good thing. Beetles will take advantage of debris on the floor, mixed with water to for a nutritious soup for them to lay eggs in. Having the entrance tilted forward at all times will avoid this from happening.

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Thank you, @JeffH! Checking again, there continue to be no signs of damage, it smells good, and the bottom has remained clear. Do you feel then, that overall, solid bottom boards are better than screened ones? Certainly can be hot and humid in Florida too.

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Thank you @chau06 for your help! I think you’re right because since clearing out bottom board, there continue to be no issues. Thank goodness!

Hi and you’re welcome Kari. I think that solid floors are better than screened ones. I never give my bees added ventilation, regardless of humidity, which I also get in my sub-tropical climate. The reason being that bees air condition their hives via the entrance. Added ventilation will only work against the bees in their effort to do that.

One addition that I think is worthwhile is a slatted rack. I made 50 last year to add to most of my hives.

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Some beekeepers will drill some holes in the solid floors or water to drip out of, of course the bees do wax these up though but if you have rain you can use say a nail to poke into the seepage holes and clear out wax for water to drain. It will tend to splash in through the entrance of the hive.