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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a!
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Demise of the April Swarm

When I went through my hives yesterday, I was concerned about the hive in the medium nuc box. I hadn't seen much activity and had given them a frame of brood and eggs to help them make a new queen.

Originally I thought this was larvae of the wax moth, but I looked with a magnifying glass after an email from "Doc" and found that the larvae has 6 anterior legs - which distinguishes the small hive beetle larvae from the wax moth larvae. The weak hive wasn't able to withstand the invasion of the small hive beetle. I have never before seen a frame in the middle of its destruction by SHB larvae.

It was the grossest, stickiest, nastiest frame. It was dripping with honey. All sides of the frame were glistening and sticky. And the frame was filled with 1/4" larvae, wriggling and squirming in the honeyed mess. Be sure to click to enlarge the picture so you too can have an up close and personal view of the squalor.



After leaving the frame with one side down on the deck railing, I turned it over to the other side. Larvae can't tolerate sunlight, so I thought I'd rid myself of them that way. This morning when I went out to examine the larvae with a magnifying lens, earwigs were feasting on the remains! Here are the dead larvae floating in the remains of the honey.



While this is the first time I've seen small hive beetle damage in process, I'm sure it won't be the last. I don't look forward to my next sticky encounter!
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2 comments:

  1. Anonymous5:45 PM

    I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your hive--especially to such a despicable foe. I do hope it's the last time!

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  2. This is such a pest in the USA. In Canada it has been found in Quebec but not in Ontario... BUT it is on the New York border and it's a winged insect. We ancticipate in the future it will encroach on Ontario but we don't know how it will survive the winter. Let's hope they can't take our cold weather.

    Sorry Linda that this pest has found you. I hope you're able to get rid of it.

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