Bjorn Apiaries

Pest & Disease Issues of the Hive

Unlike wax moths that tunnel individually, the SHB larvae work in mass. They are much smaller than the wax moth larvae and are easily identified. Note the honey on the frame unprotected by the bees.

For both wax moths and small hive beetles, removal of all comb not protected by the bees is required.. Both are opportunistic pests, that can be controlled by strong hives. Once larvae are present in the hives, removal of individual frames and freezing them, is a good course of action.

There are many beetle traps on the market, mostly poorly designed and aimed at selling you a quick fix. Ground drench applications only deal with issues after the larvae has already done their damage. If you are worried about killing larvae after they are existing the hives, your hives are already doomed. 

The best course, is to manage your comb, keep strong hives, an perpetuate genetics that can deal with this common pest. We do not suggest chemical applications and other "treatments" for wax moths or SHB, as a replacement for good beekeeping management.

This is a frame of comb destroyed by wax moths over time. This was a winter killed hive that sat most of the summer. Note the big cocoons that raised the next life cycle of moths.
Wax moths will also weaken and destroy your woodenware. Protect unused equipment.

Small Hive Beetle


This picture is of the larvae stage of the small hive beetle (SHB). The SHB is an opportunistic beehive pest that seeks out hives under stress, or weakened hives. It should be noted that seeing a few SHB in your hive will probably be a very common occurrence. SHB have spread to most areas o the east coast. There is no reason to over react in seeing SHB. Your bees will deal with SHB if you maintain strong hives. They will corral the beetles, clean out eggs, and fend off damage from SHB.


However, at the first signs of SHB larvae (small maggot looking larvae as seen in the picture), immediate action is required. Seeing SHB larvae simply means your bees can not defend the amount of comb inside the hive. Your assistance is required. The larvae will quickly overwhelm the hive. Removal of all comb not absolutely needed and protected by the bees is required. Freezing of the effected frame is also suggested. The SHB larvae act on mass, going from frame to frame and completely destroying the comb, and killing off the hive.

Please note: They do not normally attack "dry" comb. But reproduce on comb from dead outs and of weakened hives that have honey present. The life cycle of the SHB is very short. And one hive left unattended can quickly produce tens of thousands of new beetles. Do not let dead out hives or stored equipment to perpetuate the next cycle of SHB.

Wax Moth


Wax moths are another opportunistic pest of the hive thriving on dead hives and situations where the bees have too much comb to protect.

Unlike SHB larvae that operate in clusters and in mass, wax moth larvae destroy combs individually. They target brood comb.

Wax moth damage can be seen as pot marks or small holes as they burrow into woodenware.