Honeyflow.com | FAQ's |

What does your tray tell you?

Hi Jack, thanks for sharing that link. I think I can see some honeycomb patterns on some. As well as some spirals like you see on sunflowers on other ones.

Hi Jack, as you know, I’m a fan of a solid floor. However I’m just wondering if you have the rear vent open or closed. The reason I ask is because a new local beekeeper uses blue boards that are screened. She noted heavy condensation in the lid with a strong colony. Whereas I get very little condensation in the lid with strong colonies, using solid floors. I suggested she convert to a solid floor. I always advise new beekeepers with Flow2’s (those who ask) to keep the rear vent closed.

cheers

Yes it does I bought it online
Got a 20kg bucket
I shall see if I can find where I got it from
I use it around the house and for plants and chickens as well.

@Esckay, I look forward to that information, thank you.
To anyone with some information, when the bees chase pests like SHB’s, Wax moths, etc, where do those pests get chased to, eg to the top of the brood box or lower down into the tray at the bottom of the hive???

Quite a few beetles get chased to the top of the inner cover, where they’re kept in little igloo-shaped cell blocks made of wax & propolis. The beetles can live - cadging meals from passing workers - but can’t reproduce. It’s interesting to me that the bees don’t block off the cells the beetles are held in. At least now that I know imprisonment is the bees’ strategy, I no longer scrape off this ‘burr comb’ during inspections. Instead I spent a minute just smashing the beetles that get out when I open the hive and disrupt the bees.

2 Likes

Anywhere that the bees can imprison them. Some will get chased down, and some up. I put beetle blaster traps just above the brood nest, and the bees are quite happy to chase the beetles into those.

2 Likes

Bees might even guard a trapped SHB not allowing it to leave from a certain place to ensure they are not near honeycomb or brood comb. This can be seen on occasion inside an empty Flow Frame cell through the cross-section, where there is no risk of the SHB taking hold, with larvae not able to eat through the comb structure. The beetle may try to leave, but either retreats or is pushed back inside by the bee. They usually chase them around with the intent to hug them so they fall to the bottom of the hive, or so they lose their footing and fall to the bottom of the hive also.

1 Like

Thanks for joining the conversation, @KieranPI, nice to hear from you. Happy New Year, by the way! :wink:

Bee mandibles also carry a pheromone which not only marks the invader, but also semi-sedates them. So if the bee can manage to get a bite through the chitin of the adult SHB, they really get the upper hand. :blush:

1 Like

Hi @KieranPI @Eva and @Dawn_SD, thanks for the information. I can just imagine one of my bees giving a SHB a hug​:woozy_face::woozy_face:. I’m really pleased, as today I gave the SHB trap that’s in the top of the BB a look at, and only found just 1 SHB in it, after 3 weeks from when the SHB trap being put in place and none at all in the bottom flue tray (FH2). Maybe Kieran, the SHB don’t like being hugged. Also I must get in touch with Dave whom I bought my nuc from, as I think that the BB looks like it might be close to being full (as well as I could see without pulling the frames out to have a closer look), as there was even some bridging wax between several of the frames. I’m just not sure whether to drop on the flow hive this late in the season (southern NSW Australia), or to add an extra box with empty frames. I don’t want to to do something that might weaken my hive. Maybe even just set up the second box with only 4 frames in it, and use the rest of the space on either sides to set up feeding cells ready for winter, as I’m sensing that next winter maybe a cold one. Then as winter draws to a close, replace the feed cells with empty frames, as a deterrent for them to swarm. Thus hopefully I’ll then have a very strong hive for the 2021 honey season. I’m happy for any input from the forum.

I observed similar stuff in my tray today.
Unfortunately I cleaned it out without taking a photo. Photo next time.
In addition there was an empty white coccoon about 6mm long.
The sqiuggly tracks in the capping fragments appeared to be stuck together with silk.
No SHB seen.
I think I will step up inspections of the tray. This stuff was not there 2 weeks ago.
My colony is not particularly strong yet and I have read that it can be a good idea to reduce the hive entrance to about 40mm. Any comments re this?

The capping fragments stuck together with silk sounds like wax moth activity.

I agree with reducing the entrance to 40mm while a colony is weak. That’s what I do myself.

3 Likes

Hey Ian, affirmative to what Jeff says, and I’d also recommend clearing out the grooves that support the tray. I’ve often found wax moth cocoons tucked away in places like the grooves of a screened bottom board, and although I haven’t seen a Flow2 tray rig up close I assume they work similarly. Next time you take the tray out for a look, you can use a long twig or something like that to scrape/push along the tiny ledge to dislodge and destroy possible cocoons.

3 Likes

Hi @JeffH and @Eva .
Thanks for the advice. I will have a close look at cracks and crannies where the moths could be making coccoons.
Jeff, I cut a couple of pieces of quad to reduce the entrance width and placed them at the entrance.
I just knew I shouldn’t do it in the middle of the day, but did it anyway. Sometimes we do stuff that is just plain dumb. We know it is dumb but we do it anyway. :laughing:
The guard bee got stroppy and told me where to go, and exactly what I could do when I got there. :grin:
I learned two things that I already knew, but managed to ignore. 1. Stay away from the entrance unless I am suited up and have a smoker going. 2. A bee can fly faster than I can run.

4 Likes

Hi Ian, I have let my guard down & copped the odd sting.

There’s one bit of helpful information I learned a few years ago & that is that bees target where we exhale from. It’s the CO2 we exhale that triggers them to get into attack mode. If we can hold our breath long enough to do little jobs, that’ll certainly help. Also when being attacked by a bee, I walk away fast with my head at a lower level. That always works because the bee can’t figure out where I’m exhaling from. The bee continues to search at the original elevation of my head.

If a bee is really after me & wont give up, I allow her to follow me into the house where she will stop chasing me before going for a window in order to get back outside. At that point I squash her. Then I can continue with what I was doing outside.

Just a short illustration: I had a nuc sitting on a table next to the doorway into my honey room. Their flight path was across the doorway at my waist height. I never got attacked while entering or leaving the room, even though the entrance was only inches away from my waist. I used to always think of how different it would be if the flight path was in line with my head. One whiff of CO2 as I walked past would almost certainly have triggered a defensive response.

Thanks Jeff. I knew mosquitos are drawn to CO2 but did not know that bees are also.
Next time I will follow your advice about holding my breath and keeping low.
Always something new to learn.

1 Like

You’re welcome Ian, I probably got the words out wrong. When I say to keep your head down, I mean to drop your head to a lower level than when the bee started chasing. If your head was already low when the bee started chasing, raise it to a higher level as you quickly walk away. It’s all about confusing the bee so she can’t detect where we exhale from. Holding your breath is probably the best strategy.

I’m really pleased that I know this bit of information because it helps me understand why people who pick bee colonies up from me, & want to see the queen without wearing a veil get stung on the face. I’ll have to take more notice to see if they get stung while talking or not. Black seems to be in fashion because a lot of people come dressed in black. We have to remember to remind folks to bring a veil & don’t wear dark colors.

1 Like

I inspected the tray again today. Clear evidence of Lesser Wax Moth. Several larvae present, and in two distinctly different sizes. Two larvae at approximately 12mm long and one at approximately 5mm long.
I would guess that the eggs were not laid at the same time, so maybe two separate moths??
Today is a total fire ban here so no way will I light my smoker. When the weather is cooler I will have a thorough inspection of the brood box.
Does anyone out there wash their pest control tray regularly? If so, what do you use?

I don’t have a tray, but I do have a coreflute slider. I clean it once every week or two with water from a nearby hose. When the dirt gets a little more stubborn, I use dishwashing soap and a soft scrubbing pad, followed by a thorough rinse.

2 Likes

More evidence of larvae this morning. I think the larger one was missed yesterday when I scraped out the majority of the wax fragments.
The large grub was approx 10mm long and the small one about 3mm long.
I scrubbed out the tray with hot water and detergent in an attempt to remove any existing eggs. This should give me a good baseline for tomorrow.

2 Likes

Hi Ian, don’t be overly concerned by the presence of wax moth. They are a part of beekeeping life. They are naturally attracted to beehives. After the eggs are laid, the larvae will feast on the brood cappings that accumulate on the tray floor. If you keep the tray clean, the moths wont lay eggs there. If you can’t maintain a cleaning regime, you could opt for a solid floor, which a strong colony naturally keeps clean

3 Likes