Yuk! what a mess! SHB or AFB?

Been away fishing for three weeks and came back to brown sludge and maggots on bottom board. Heaps of beetles. Opened hive to find nothing in flowhive but only one frame in broodbox with honey and activity. the rest are all brown and very sick looking. SMB or AFB? Anyone have suggestions on cure for this newby?
How do I upload photos?

I don’t think you need any photos. It sounds like SHB have taken over your hive.

If you have something you can work over so that the grubs don’t make it to ground would be good. If the frame with honey is all wet looking, I wouldn’t use it. Scrape everything into a bin, while at the same time, see if you can see any evidence of AFB in the brood frames. I scrape everything down with an old blunt fishing knife.

If you don’t think that AFB caused the problem in the first place, you could wash everything down with hot soapy water, rinse it, then let it dry in the sun. That’s the wood bits. I don’t know how you would deal with the flow frames.

What ever approach you take, the main thing is to make sure that as few as possible grubs make it to ground. That’s where they complete the next phase of their life cycle.

The grubs can be frozen or boiled or in a bucket with a lid on in the sun to cook them. You can even feed them to chooks.

The hive has been weak for a couple of months now and I think I might burn all the frames honey and all and start again. Is that too drastic? Thanks for you reply. There are very few bees although they may have been out foraging


Burning all the frames is too drastic for me, a frugal beekeeper. I’m happy to spend the time on it.

If there is a lesson to be learned here, it would be to investigate why the hive got weak in the first place & not let it linger as a weak hive. It may have weakened on account of AFB, who knows? It may not be too late to get a more experienced beekeeper to look at the brood to look for signs of AFB, just in case it was AFB.


When you are typing in the posting window, there is a toolbar across the top. The 7th symbol from the left is a bar with an arrow pointing up - that is the upload tool. Just click on it and choose the photos to upload, then wait patiently while they load… That is important, or the software just prints “uploading…” and doesn’t show your photo. :blush:

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@JeffH’ s idea of getting another beekeeper to look is excellent. Failing that, you now know how to post your photos. If it isn’t AFB, I would just render the wax from the frames. If it is an SHB slime out, you can’t save the honey as it will just ferment. Bees won’t touch it either.

After thoroughly scraping them down, the frames can be dunked in a bucket with bleach and water, then dried off in the sun. That will kill off most nasties and make them fit for reuse. Likewise, you can scrape off the inside of the hive and spray it with a bottle of 10% bleach in water. Rinse after 30 mins, then dry throughly in the sun.

If it turned out to be AFB, you need to follow your regional regulations. Some places require irradiation, others burning and some allow you to use bleach (sodium hypochlorite).


Thanks Dawn

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Where are you located?
You can edit your information on your profile page.

There are some tests for AFB etc if you are in NSW for example.

Here is one thread with lots of info and free testing kit:

Some photos would help too :slight_smile:

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I’m at Port Macquarie on the Mid north Coast. I burned seven frames and replaced with two new ones. The bees are very busy now but still low in numbers. Will have to open next week in better weather to check on progress and do some more cleaning up. Thanks for the advice.


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