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What does your tray tell you?

Pest Management Tray

This is my absolute favourite feature of the Flow hive 2. It allows me to have some form of handle on supporting and understanding the inside of the hive without opening it up and disturbing the colony.

I was once told that the pest management tray (or core flute slider if you have the Classic) is like the human body’s gut. What you find can offer you an indication for the general state of health inside the body/hive.

What does your pest management tray tell you?

I’d like to start this thread to welcome beekeepers to post photos of their pest management tray(s) so others can help identify what they’re looking at and encourage the use of this great feature.

I must note that this technique shouldn’t override the importance of maintaining regular and the required frequency of inspections suitable for the hives location, climate, beekeepers preferences etc.

I’d like to start off with a photo I took a while ago of one of my hive trays that had these little rolled up bits of what looked like wax and hive debris with a larva inside. I assumed they were wax moth but thought wax moth kept up in the hive. Does anyone on the forum know what they could be? There was no sign of wax moth inside the hive.

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That IS wax moth larvae Bianca. They feed on hive debris, they love brood cappings created while bees are emerging. These would be the lesser wax moths, I’m guessing, the greater wax moths make much larger cocoons.

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One day I found these in my tray, one is a grub and the other a small black beetle. On another occasion I found about 5 of the grub, but I haven’t found any more of either of them since. Can anyone tell me what they might be, btw the grub and beetle have been in the bottle for about a week, the beetle died several days ago, yet the grub is still alive.
Oops, I just realised that I hadn’t included any photos, so here they are.

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My tray told me it, (Founding FH), was an ideal breeding ground for wax moth so I replaced the screened bottom board with a solid bottom board. No problems since, just a bit harder draining the frames.
:roll_eyes:

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The grub looks like a Greater Wax Moth, much bigger than the ones in Bianca’s tray. The little beetle is a Small Hive Beetle.

I think it’s fair to mention that these trays should be checked on a regular basis. If left unchecked, the coreflute in the classic models become propolized in while in the top slot. I recently saw a photo of a tray that hadn’t been checked for 12 months. The bottom was completely covered in Greater Wax Moth cocoons.

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Wax moth cocoons and also ants - whole colonies can set up in the little channels if you don’t keep after the sliders. Mine are all converted to solid bottoms.

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Hi @JeffH, thank you for your reply, I’m checking the tray almost daily. As I previously said, I haven’t seen any more of either of them for about a week now. Could that just mean that the SHBs are hiding somewhere else, and could that be the same situation regarding the Greater Wax moth larvae??? Also Jeff I saw no cocoons from the Greater Wax Moth larvae in the tray.
When I picked up my bees up from a Wagga Amateur Club member whom I bought them from, he said to me at the time that he would come and have a look at them for me 3 weeks from the day I picked them up, that should be this coming week.

Hi @Eva, thanks for the reply. “The slider”, do you mean the tray in the bottom of a Flowhive2, and “channels” do you mean the space between each frame in the brood box?
You are the second bee owner whom has mentioned closing up the bottom of the brood box in the flow hive. Have you fixed it closed permanently, of have you used clips (eg similar to those used on the FH2 to hold the viewing windows panels in place)?
No ants yet​:crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers:I have put grease around the steel legs, must be doing the trick​:metal:

Hi @skeggley, thank you for your comment, could the existing tray be left in place and just enclose the base (eg see my comment to Eva)?

Hi Trev, there could be more hive beetles hiding, but don’t let that worry you. The workers will make sure they remain that way. After just 3 weeks, you shouldn’t have any issues with wax moths. If you keep the tray clean, you wont see any wax moth issues. Once a day will be hard to maintain. However if you check it once a fortnight & remove any debris, you should be right. You need to keep the tray reasonably clean because Flow recommend to clean it before a honey harvest, so it can catch any drips. If you get a decent spill, you might like to be able to retrieve it for yourself.

The other thing I suggest to folks with a Flow2 is to keep the rear vent closed at all times. That’s because I believe the bees do better without added ventilation, even in hot weather.

cheers

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Hi @JeffH, thank you for your reply. Is there any particular season/s that those 2 bee hive pests are at their worse, and/or not a problem, I am in southern NSW 33kms south of Wagga Wagga. How many beetle blaster traps should I put in an 8 frame brood box.
My FH2 doesn’t have an adjustable vent in the base, just a set of slots above the spirit level. So should I cover those slots up, as I have already reduced the size of entrance, to (about) 75mm on each end of the total length. Funny thing is that today 95% of the bees are using the right hand side to come and go, and the rest using the left hand side, I will monitor that, to see if they change their usage or those 2 openings. Maybe I’ll have to put little signs above them, one with entry only, and the other with exit only.:woozy_face::woozy_face::woozy_face:
Cheers

Hi mate, the thing is, from my understanding, that the screened bottom board is fitted for the control of SHB, ventillation and mite counts with varroa. You of course have only SHB so as Jeff says it may be beneficial, over here we have either and I don’t buy into the ventillation side so can’t see the point here in my location.
My screened BB is in the shed with the screen removed awaiting the fitting of a solid board, another project half finished, not a priority anymore as I have standard solid bb’s on all my hives plus a spare or two. Not a big job just waiting for some free material. This is the founding base and is different to the newer versions but I dare say it could be done if you wanted.
The only issue with the std bb’s is the lack of angle for harvest.

Hiya Buzz, sorry to cause you confusion - my fault for referring to parts of my FH Classic that are not the same or don’t exist on FH2. I should remember to check that distinction beforehand next times!

The FHC bottom board is fitted with a flat piece of corrugated plastic, like what’s used for small placards/signs. It slides under the screen and is adjustable for height like an oven rack is. Very handy for mite management but I’ve switched methods and don’t need the screen feature anymore.

One should be enough. Check it after a week or two and if you have more than 20 beetles in it, you may need a second trap.

Hi @Buzzing-bees. I don’t use beetle traps at all. I just squash the ones I’m able to. I like @Dawn_SD’s recommendation of using just one beetle blaster trap. I wouldn’t even go for a second one. It’s during hot/humid weather that beetles like to breed in. However if we don’t allow them the opportunity, they wont breed in or around our hives.
We should: Keep a high percentage of workers in the hive, eliminate large areas of drone brood, eliminate squashed bees between combs or damaged brood after inspections, minimize honey spills in the hive & an important thing is to make sure that any frames containing brood & pollen have a good covering of bees on them. Only checker board brood frames in a strong hive. Don’t segregate brood frames in a weak hive. Don’t give a weak colony more brood frames than the colony can defend. I think I covered it all. Another thing is to make sure they can’t breed in anything outside the hive, frames containing brood or pollen, for example. Our nose will alert us to any hive beetle activity, it has a distinctive odor, that gives us time to act before any grubs make it to soil.

In relation to the entrances: Once the bees orientate themselves to a particular part of the entrance, that’s the spot they’ll leave & return to. I’m sure they will drift across if the nectar source is in one direction or the other.

cheers

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@JeffH, just installed a beetle buster today (10/12/20), the guy whom sold me my nuc, came and checked out my brood box, after 3 weeks there are still 2 out of 8 frames that the bees haven’t started to fill yet, but he was pleased with the way the hive looked, good amount on new brood, honey, and pollen compared to when he sold the nuc to me. We have a local whom is breeding queens, and especially queens that tend towards being of a quiet nature. Me hive has 1of those queens, the hive seems reasonably quiet, as within a few minutes of putting the hive back together, there were bees already flying off to forage once again, no sign of them being too ruffled over us interfering. Dave moved the 2 empty frames into the centre, as he believe that by doing so encourages the worker bees to focus on those empty frames. It seems (sadly) that because of the late start in getting my hive up and running (3weeks ago on Tuesday), it will be very unlikely that the flow hive will be added too the brood this honey season.:broken_heart::broken_heart:
Yes more and more bees are starting to use the (my) left opening that I created by putting a reducer piece of timber in the centre of entrance, but still 2/3 of them are not left handed​:rofl::rofl: so it seems.

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wax moths almost always exist where there is a beehive. However they are generally only a problem when a hive has become weak and there are not enough bees to deal with the moths. Moths will take advantage of any place in a hive where the bees cannot go- so it is very normal to see them in a tray. They can eek out an existence living off the debris that collect there. For that reason alone I think I prefer a solid bottom hive than a hive with a tray.

This is actually a concern of mine with the new tray design on the flow 2 in my climate. My own flow two tray fills with water, pollen and wax debris and become mouldy and mucky very fast. I have to clean it out all the time. Over winter it completely fills with water… I am considering getting rid of it as it is a breeding ground for disease and pests. Or at least drilling holes in it so it stays dry… We don’t have beetles or mites so I am not sure it has any real use here?

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I add Diatomaceous to my tray
It does need cleaning out once it gets damp but kills everything that falls into the tray which means that the moths can’t live there.

@Esckay, who sells the Diatomaceous? Does it kill small hive beetles too?

I think you can find it many places- it is naturally occurring - you can probably collect your own if you google where to look. And yes it will for sure kill beetles. Basically it is a sort of sand/earth made up of millions of fossilized diatoms- small single celled organisms. The shells are broken and jagged and cut up the bodies of of small insects and grubs. It’s like bathing in glass shards for insects.

the fun thing is- if you have a microscope diatomaceous earth is great to look at:

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