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Attack of the Small Hive Beetle!

Another lesson learned for this old boy. I did a split of the William Byrd Hive back in late April. It was one of the hives that I had targeted for honey but had gone on a swarm rampage anyway. Come late-May, I did not see the signs that I liked and I dropped a frame of eggs into the hive, just to be sure (off of Apache, a good blood line). In the process of putting the new frame of eggs (I was in a hurry…), I removed the outermost deep frame and sunk the new frame of eggs in the center. Sounds logical, eh?

Well, the second from the outermost deep was a bit thick on capped honey. They had drawn it out too far and, on the frame that I removed, had simply not drawn it out much at all. This meant that when this frame became the outermost frame, the capped honey was actually touching the side of the Deep. No problem, I thought, the bees will eat this away and create a new walkway.

Bees may do that, but mine don’t. They let it sit (about 33% of the face of that frame), smashed against the wall of the Deep. This is what we call ‘Prime Small Hive Beetle mating ground.’ Basically, I noticed something of concern when I approached the hive. A brown stream of liquid was lazily running out of one side of the entrance. To be honest, I thought SHB immediately, but didn’t realize I was to blame (I figured the hive must be a goner.) Instead, the hive was strong as can be (for a split at this time of year), but that one frame had tons of SHB larva. Like an idiot, I scraped two carvings (with the hive tool) off onto the ground before I realized that the ground is where they pupate. Sigh. Once I regained my senses, I shook and brushed the bees off of it (oddly, this was the only frame to have two supercedure cells that had not been capped yet) and took it home to go in the freezer. I’ll figure out what to do with that thing later.

At any rate, I will never push honey comb up against the side of the super again (on purpose, at least.) I could not believe the sheer number of SHB that had gone to town in that little protected spot. Obviously, I need to get another frame of eggs on this hive and watch them very closely.

I must make every mistake there is to make in beekeeping…

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