Small hive beetle?

I harvested 3 frames from my flow hive after our month of wet weather. One frame at the start of the pour had a fermented honey smell. The frame harvested about 1kg honey but had 25 larvae in it. The larvae range in length some about 3mm some to 7mm and they have two protruding spines / spikes out of their end. Is this small hive beetle? Photos attached

Yes, small hive beetle larva.

Hi Courtney, welcome to the forum. Definitely hive beetle as @chau06 said. I would suggest to inspect the Flow frames to see what’s going on. Also, have you inspected the bottom tray?

Hi Courtney,

Was your intention for harvesting to harvest honey for yourself? Or were you harvesting to remove the super?

Did you inspect the Flow Frames before harvesting to ensure they were ready? If you noticed runny and strange smelling honey, you could have been harvesting nectar (uncapped cells) which is essentially unripe honey and not ready for harvesting/consuming.

Hi Bianca, did you miss the part where Courtney stated that about 25 larvae come out with the honey? I’m assuming that they’re all the same as the grub in the photo. Hive beetles typically make honey runny, with a strange smell.

Hi Jeff, no I didn’t, but instead my mind went to nectar instead regarding the runny honey.

You’re right though, and I hope it’s not a slime out.

An emergency hive inspection might be a really good idea for you right now Courtney.

All other frames in the super seem ok. Of the 3 I harvested, only one has the larvae in it (it was the Center frame out of 7 frames). And the two frames on the windows are beautiful- well drawn out and fully capped and covered in bees. I have just spent half an hour trying my best to get the gable roof off to conduct an inspection (haven’t for a month since the rain started) and I can’t for the life of me, get the roof to lift off! I will have to wait for my bee buddy to return from Italy to give me a hand. The bottom tray has two dead SHB. I have a silver bullet and CD case ready to install. I plan to move the hive slowly to a more sunny and ventilated position. Thank you for the feedback

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Hi Courtney, I agree with Bianca, in relation to an emergency hive inspection. It could mean this difference between rescuing the colony or losing it altogether, on account of a slime-out. The silver bullet & cd case wont help once the damage is done.

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Yes but I can not get the roof off
I need a helper and she’s in Italy for another 9 days

9 days?!!!, a lot can happen re. hive beetles in 9 days.

If you push the flat part of your hive tool between the roof & crown board at the back, you should be able to lever the roof free, by going from one side & then the other.

Thanks Jeff, I’m strong, and half an hour of trying this with my hive tool I gave up. It would not budge unfortunately

Hi & you’re welcome Courtney. The only thing I can think of would be to use a bit of persuasion by way of a hammer or mallet. I’m currently having to use a hammer & large screwdriver to separate bottom boards from brood boxes, so that I can fit slatted racks to my hives.

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Hi again Courtney, while sleeping on it, I remembered that sometimes bees can overwhelm small areas of hive beetle activity. Then I thought that I should suggest you monitor the viewing windows & bottom tray, as well as the entrance. If the beetle activity gets too bad, the bees will eventually abscond, however not before they form a beard outside the entrance.

I was also thinking that maybe you could try removing the roof & crown board as one. If your bees have access to the roof, they may have filled it with comb, which combined with propolis, could make it really difficult to move…


Yes, bees have access to the roof and stuck it down, plus expansion of timber from the rain. I’ve lined up a bee buddy for this Wednesday and if we can not get the roof off, we will lift the super and roof in one and just check the brood box. Plus put in traps

That sounds like a good plan, good luck with that. We got a blast of winter last night. I think I’ll be lighting the fire tonight.

I know that a flat migratory roof is not as attractive as the gable roof, however coupled with a hive mat is more practical & way less hassle, I think.

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I discovered a strange smell myself this afternoon, wafting out of an entrance. The top box looked alright. I’ll check it out tomorrow while I’m fitting a slatted rack to the hive.

My main mission today was to reduce entrances, on account of this burst of cold air we’re experiencing. Would you believe that a swarm issued while I was there. I’m beehive sitting your neighbor up the road’s hive. It would be funny if the swarm came out of his hive.

You were in the right place at the right time
Did you manage to capture the swarm

Hi Courtney, yes luckily it landed on a low bush. I had a brood box that I had moved a colony out of a half an hour earlier, so it smelt like home for them, plus a frame of open brood did the trick.

Wow! What an incredible hive. My girls have been super busy. The super is full, the gable roof full of burr comb (I only emptied it out 6 weeks ago) and despite the one flow frame in the super having small hive beetle larvae - there weren’t many beetles spotted at all during this inspection (I was half expecting a slime out!). Jeff, those bees and queen I bought from you have super powers! The brood box is glorious- well patterned brood, and we spotted the queen.

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