WORMS on bottom board?!

I’ve got worms on my screened bottom board sheet also. I didn’t see any until I did a MAQS treatment last weekend, now I’m seeing them every day on the bottom board. No evidence of moths in the hive, can anyone advise if these are wax moth worms or SHB larvae?

BTW what do varroa look like, can you see any in these pictures? I wasn’t sure whether to treat or not but I guess my question is answered now. :astonished:

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Thanks Dawn. I think you have answered most of my questions. Now I have to be brave enough to get into my other HOT hive. I know it needs varroa treatment…and maybe it will have gotten less nasty since my last intervention. It’s supposed to be the same queen stock but hard to believe the difference last time. Oh…and I got all those ants out (for now anyway)!!

Do you keep 2 deeps on for the winter?


Yes, assuming they are both well-populated (80% full of food or brood and plenty of bees) going in to winter. You don’t want them to have too much space to defend over winter, especially if your winters are mild (not much frost/freezing weather).

Are you kidding??? I have marked a small percentage of them in this photo.

Yup! :flushed:

I believe you are in the UK, and I don’t think the UK has SHB yet, so they must be wax moths, even though some of them are very small. If you are in the southern US or Australia, they could be SHB.


Some photos next time…? :slight_smile:

That’s plenty of time for supercedure to take place…

Thanks for the reply @Dawn_SD. I was kidding yes, sorry sarcasm doesn’t always come across well in text. What I was basically inferring was that I wasn’t 100% sure what a varroa looked like…until I treated and saw my bottom board 24hrs later. So many. :astonished:

I’m from the UK but an ex-par living in New Hampshire now, but I think it’s generally too cold here for SHB so probably still wax moths? All larvae I could find have been dispatched so I’ll just keep an eye on the bottom board for more.

True that. By the way, I forgot to say, your photo is superb. Sharp focus and great detail. Good enough to see the legs on the varroa when you zoom in, so very well done! :wink:

Not sure that your weather is a reliable barrier. Just keep a look out for the adults in the hive, and assume you have them anyway. In other words, try not to crush any bees, and don’t leave any free meals around for them (wax and honey on the ground, slum gum on top of the soil etc.) If you actually see any, you may want to get more active with traps, but I think @JeffH manages SHB very well by just being careful. You might do well to study his methods if they turn out to be SHB.

Thank you @Dawn_SD, after reading this thread, I put this video together to hopefully help any beekeepers rule in or out what larvae they have. It’s evident that the shb larvae has 3 sets of legs at the front followed by a gap before more legs at the rear. Also it appears that shb larvae has fine hair on the back.

I hope this helps, cheers


Fantastically helpful @JeffH, you are an amazing resource! :heart_eyes:


Hi & thank you Dawn, I had to post it & go. I think the cropped thumbnail photo does more justice in identifying the species than the video itself. It would be interesting to see if the wax moth larvae has that little spine arrangement on it’s tail. I’ll look out for a wax moth larvae. There’s always a couple between the perspex & bottom board of my observation hive, I can take one of those out.

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Hi Jeff these show size differences, etc. if you find live wax moth larvae would be good to see.

In top photo top larvae is Wax Moth

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The problem is that both start out much smaller than that. And lesser wax moths are no where near that big either. All three (lesser wax moths, greater wax moths and small hive beetles) start as a very small egg, then a very small larva and then grow until they pupate. All of them go from very small to about 1/2" at least. The greater wax moth can get bigger than that, but all three grow through that range.

Hi & thanks for that Kirsten, I thought the shbl had legs at the rear but obviously not. Looking at that photo, it’s obvious that the shbl is the one with the tiny hairs on the back. Also the shbl has a dot above each segment where there are no feet. The set of 4 feet in the middle of the wax moth larvae are different to the legs at the front. Actually those things I call tiny hairs on the shbl look very similar to the backward pointing spines of the human bot fly larvae.

It just occurred to me that a handy thing for a beekeeper starting out would be a good magnifying glass. However once you’ve seen a shbl infestation & had a bit to do with them, you quickly get to know the difference between the two. Another thing that’s worth remembering is the fowl smell that emits with shbl infestation.

The wax moth larvae that’s between the perspex & bottom board of my observation hive is consuming the beehive debris the bees sweep out into the gaps. So that’s what could be happening to the debris on the core flute. Wax moth larvae consuming it.

While typing this, it just occurred to me that the bees fill every gap in the hive with propolis except for the gaps around the floor.

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I think the magnifying glass is a good idea. These images helped me with the larvae I saw around my place that I spoke to you about awhile ago. It was the spikes on the SHB larvae that made me realise they weren’t as I thought (relief, although still haven’t I.D’d & hearing increasing evidence that SHB a real problem around here). Obviously they change size as they develop but the no. of legs, spikes & other markings definitely help distinguish. It makes sense that wax moth would take advantage of the wax detritus on the bottom board. I wonder what I am going to find inside my P Box, there’s a few years worth of rubbish at the bottom of that, although they do remove dead bees…& no haven’t had weather anywhere near right to transfer as yet. so much rain!!! this is an eg. of past week & few days to come

Well I guess the good weather can’t be too far away. I’m looking forward to seeing what you find. I think you’ll find that the bees have gotten rid of most of the detritus, I think they also mix it with propolis, because I’ll get a film of detritus/propolis type substance stuck to my bottom boards. With my observation hive, they have the gap on the sides they sweep it into which keeps the bottom board clean. When I show people my observation hive, I especially like showing people the wax moth larvae through the perspex doing the job they are designed to do.

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Dams are overflowing, people being flooded out, the joys of a Victorian Spring & La Nina…

These bees seem to be very clean & tidy housekeepers. It’s interesting that you’ve noticed them mixing it with the propolis. Amazing creatures. These girls have done a very good job of propolising the lid shut, & lots of use of it on the outside around the lid too.

Hi Kirsten, propolis is only a guess. Whatever it is, it gets quite thick on the older floors & takes a bit of scraping off. Have you tried to move the lid of the p. box? I hope your safe with the floods.

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