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What's this on the landing board?

Hello again mentors,
There’s always something…
Had a quick look at the landibg boards this morning and saw this on one of them. They usually keep it and the bottom board spotless but this appeared overnight. It doesn’t feel like wax.
Last inspection a week ago everything looked good. Big population, Eggs, larvae, brood and stores. It’s spring here but we’re about to go into a week of bad weather and a few cooler days.
Can anyone tell me what this is?

Update
I brushed it off and 2 hours later there’s just as much there as this before

Cheers
Ron


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Hi Ron, that sounds a little bit disturbing. I hate to bring up the “SHB” words, however I’d suggest doing a brood check of every frame, just to make sure there is no activity that the bees are trying to overwhelm.

I know it can happen fast, but last weekend there was a big population, eggs, larvae, capped brood, the whole gammut. There were no beetles in the trap and didn’t see any either.

Our issue is that there are showers predicted all week here so may not get in there for another 5 days.
Fingers crossed we get there…
Cheers
Ron

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Ron could you smell and take a tiny taste of the dark yellowish brown crumbs on the landing board? I can’t quite tell from the pic but am hoping it’s just pollen bits. Pollen tastes a little tangy and nice in case you haven’t tried it yet :laughing: My thought was that maybe there’s a lot of storage and organizing going on and lots of it got dropped, then swept out during the night. I would think the bees would retrieve it from your solid floor though…unless there wasn’t room or something more disruptive as Jeff noted :thinking:

Thanks Eva, they don’t look like pollen that I’ve seen before. They’re uniformly brown and almost like large grains of sand or grit, but much softer. They aren’t waxy, but they are soft.
I’d dive straight in and have a look inside, but we had a cold front move thru today and we have rain forcast for the next 5 days.
Strange thing is that everything looked good last weekend. Didn’t see any pests at all… The comment in my bee book was “looking good”.
starting to dread what I’m going to find next weekend.
Will report back when I do get a look inside.
Cheers
Ron

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Hi Ron, forgive me my seniors moment. I misread your question. I read landing board, but my mind thought tray or slider. My reply was based on what I thought was in the tray.

I would be inclined to think along the same lines as @Eva , however I can’t comprehend how it would all drop off at the entrance like that.

Is there anything in your tray or slider?

I’ve got a solid beetltra bottom board and the bees keep it spotless, and I mean almost as new. That’s how it was last weekend.
That base has two slits and a beetle trap underneath. They seem to put all their debris into that beetle trap, which I clean out every couple of weeks. There were no beetles and nothing out of the ordinary the last time I cleared it.

Just had a look now, and that beetle trap is now full of the same debris as the landing board. I think there is something serious going on in there.
We’ve stopped back into winter. It’s only 10degrees this morning and raining so I can’t get in for a look, and according to the forecast won’t be able to until Saturday.

Whatever has happened in there has happened very fast. Very concerned.
Cheers
Ron


Hi Ron,

My thoughts (just like Eva) are that what you are seeing is normal and just an accumulation of wax debris, typical for what you see on a removable tray under a growing hive. The bees are ‘sweeping’ it out of the hive and their particular personality shows that they don’t mind it gathering at the front door like this.

In essence, I believe what you’re seeing is a side effect of not having a removable tray under the hive (e.g. a grate and tray that captures this debris like in a Flow Hive), particularly tidy bees (perhaps hygienic), and a growing colony. All great things.

Thanks Bianca,
i hope you’re right. in the 2 years i’ve had these bases, i’ve never seen this before. The volume and the suddenness of it, is what has me concerned.
i’ll report back as soon as the rain clears and i get inside.
cheers
ron

Hi Ron, based on what’s been happening at a rapid rate, I can only conclude that the bees are flat out rectifying something such as hive beetle activity, which is the only thing that I can think of based on past experiences.

The bees can succeed in rectifying beetle damage. A couple of years ago while doing a first brood inspection after winter, I found 3 frames with huge gaps with jagged edges in the middle at the bottom of the frames. I put that down to the bees successfully rectifying hive beetle activity.

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very apprehensive about what i’m going to see when i get in there.
thanks for the opinions everyone, will let you know.
ron

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Just keep monitoring the slider Ron, in the mean time.

Hey Jeff ,
hoping for a break in the rain in the next day or 2. I know if it’s a slime out it’s a lost cause, but what happens if we just see a lot of Beatles and it looks like it could be saveable? I have five frames available to put in, do we just shake the bees off the worst frames and replace them with the new frame and foundation?
And if we do that are we just shaking to beetles in as well? This is a all assuming that it’s Beatles that we will see.
Cheers
Ron

Hi Ron, let’s cross that bridge when we get to it. Have you noticed any change to what you’re finding in the slider, or the landing board?

Your bees might be doing the same as what my bees did a couple of years ago, that is overwhelm an area of beetle activity.

I wasn’t monitoring the hive so was unaware of the debris which I imagine would have been similar to what your seeing, based on the area of comb they demolished. I remember thinking that I must have had a close shave.

There’s definately less today than yesterday. Still hoping for a break in the weather, it’s like we’ve gone back into winter at the moment.

Is that what I do tho, if we see lots of beetles but we’re not at slime yet?
Shake off the bees and put new frames with foundation in?

Yes & no Ron, you may not see many beetles at all, if any. It maybe only one or two beetles that got a chance to lay some eggs, most likely in drone brood. Or it might be in an area where a lot of drones congregate, baring in mind that drones do no defending. The first time I saw chunks of damaged comb that bees were able to overwhelm on the same day in 2 hives, it was in drone comb on both occasions.

If I find a slime-out, I’ll change the frames as you suggest, however I’ll also change the box, bottom board & lid, because in a slime-out there will be larvae crawling about everywhere. All that slime they produce is a bee repellent, which can cause a colony to eventually abscond if the bees are not able to overwhelm it.

That’s good news that there is less than yesterday.

PS Ron, while waking up & thinking more about it, it just occurred to me that if you were to have a severe slime-out, you would start to see bearding outside the hive before the bees eventually abscond. Therefore while you’re not seeing any bearding, the bees must be successfully rectifying whatever is going on inside the hive.

It was bearding that prompted a Flow hive owner to call me out. He thought I was going to take a split to prevent swarming, when in fact his hive was slimed out a few days after a harvest & the bees were getting ready to abscond.

Oh the humanity! :fire:

It seems to be an horrendous case of chalk brood.
Both our hives have it.
Both hives looked great 11 days ago, eggs brood, the whole package.
Then in the space of 1 week, that brown crap started coming out of one hive along with some mummies, and just mummies from the other.
From beautiful to disaster in 7 days. I don’t get it!
It’s been in this state and getting worse since the weekend, but we’ve had rain every day so couldn’t get in.

Where do I start with my questions?.. … Please take a seat…

Can chalk brood make a hive look like this in 7 days, or is there something else going on?
We’ve taken the supers off both, was that right?
Both appear queenless, but both have queen cells. I assume even if they make a queen, she’s going to emerge and throw herself off the landing board with the state of the hive?
Do we just replace all frames with new frames with foundation?
Is it to far gone?
If it is, what do you do with the bees that are left when your trashing all the frames?
Will the flow frames have chalk brood spores in them?
Do the boxes need radiating, or just a good scrub when this is over?
We have the splits we did from these hives 2 months ago (in another apiary) should we recombine somehow? I dosnt feel like we should.
Can partially capped honey frames be stored in ziplock bags and garbage bags?
Of not, how do we store them?
If so, for how long? They aren’t capped enough to harvest.
How fast does uncapped honey ferment if we just harvest everything that’s there reguardless.

HELP! What do we do?

Thanks in advance.
Very disappointed
:persevere::disappointed::weary::pleading_face:

Cheers
Ron

These photos are from the worst hive.




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Hi Ron, just going by those photos, I can see that the colony is queenless. Queenless colonies build those long parallel queen cells that go nowhere.

There appears to be all drone brood in worker comb, which is a dead give-away of a laying worker.

There has been a lot of hive beetle activity that the bees have been successful in overwhelming. That is evidence by all of those uneven dark indentations & chewed out comb in between the brood, which would account for all of that debris on the landing board & tray etc.

Those colonies CAN be saved.

What I would suggest is to cut all of that damaged comb away, leaving the honey before cutting the honey away so you can crush & strain it. Or vise versa.

After that you need to adopt a laying worker strategy which needs to enacted asap with the use of frames with open brood from your other colonies.

Don’t worry about the unripe honey. It can be safely stored in the freezer indefinitely…

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Thanks for the fast reply Jeff

“What I would suggest is to cut all of that damaged comb away”

There’ll be very little if anything left. One hive is mummies as far as the eye can see, and the other one (in the photos) all the frames look as bad as the ones in the photos. Rather than cut the ugly stuff out, why wouldn’t I just take them out, recycle them and put some new frames in with foundation along with the frame of emerging brood?

“I would then give each colony a frame full of sealed & emerging bees to build their numbers up.”

I can do that from the splits which are in my parents back yard.

“After that you need to adopt a laying worker strategy which can be discussed a bit later.on.”

Not sure what that means… But ok.

“Don’t worry about the unripe honey. It can be safely stored in the freezer indefinitely…”

Not really an option for us. We have 12 flow frames to store and our freezer would fit maybe 4 if we emptied it.

Lucky I didn’t sell the hives I made off the splits yet.

Cheers
Ron

Hi Ron, I edited my reply & deleted the bit about the frame with sealed & emerging bees as it would interfere with a laying worker strategy which is a little bit involved.

About freezing the honey, I mean to harvest the honey first before freezing it.

The laying worker strategy: 1. Place a frame with brood containing eggs along with fresh frames into another brood box.
2. Take the old brood box 50-100 meters away & replace it with the new brood box.

  1. Shake all of the bees onto the ground. You could probably do that prior to recycling those bad frames.

That’s basically it. The bees will return to the new brood box, leaving the laying workers behind because they haven’t done orientation flights. Then they will make a new queen. An addition of some nurse bees will be prudent because nurse bees are needed to successfully raise a new queen.

cheers

PS yes definitely recycle the ugly comb before fitting fresh foundation, however that honey above the brood can be cut out to crush & strain, which is what I would do.

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