Slug invasion

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Patumahoe
Experience
Beginner
Hi all, I've had a terrible time coming out of my first winter with bees (which my 3 hives went into strong) all hives varying degrees of weak, varroa damage, hives really damp in the corners and basically invaded by slugs and other bugs. I cleaned all hives thoroughly a month ago, bayvarol in And they are better upon this inspection with just a little dampness in the corners this time, however 1 hive was still full of slugs. Has anyone else got slug problems ? And ongoing dampness?

I've got 2 hives with the hive defender bases and 1 with the solid wooden bases but they've all been affected pretty similarly.

Thanks for reading, Amber
 

yesbut

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Nelson
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I'm currently bee-less. Both my 6 frame 3 box hives came through winter just ok after eating a lot of stores. I was late with extra feeding and they collapsed incredibly fast last week. It certainly aint as easy as it used to be.
 
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8
1
Patumahoe
Experience
Beginner
I'm currently bee-less. Both my 6 frame 3 box hives came through winter just ok after eating a lot of stores. I was late with extra feeding and they collapsed incredibly fast last week. It certainly aint as easy as it used to be.
Oh no, I might be beeless too in a couple of weeks the way I'm going! Ha, i haven't found anything easy during this first year of beekeeping, I went from 1 nuc to 5 hives and constant splitting swarming from last Oct to late autumn, then since winter its 3 hives, dampness, bugs and varroa. I've just united my 2 weakest hives, first time I've combined hives so I'm keen to see what happens. It's certainly a constant learning curve peppered with occasional disappointment.. not the relaxing hobby I had envisioned for myself 🤣
 
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maungaturoto
Experience
Commercial
Hi all, I've had a terrible time coming out of my first winter with bees (which my 3 hives went into strong) all hives varying degrees of weak, varroa damage, hives really damp in the corners and basically invaded by slugs and other bugs. I cleaned all hives thoroughly a month ago, bayvarol in And they are better upon this inspection with just a little dampness in the corners this time, however 1 hive was still full of slugs. Has anyone else got slug problems ? And ongoing dampness?

I've got 2 hives with the hive defender bases and 1 with the solid wooden bases but they've all been affected pretty similarly.

Thanks for reading, Amber
whats the site like?
usually that sort of issue is because the site is dark and damp. bees really like warm dry locations.
2nd common cause is people leaving supers on over winter. hives leak, the more boxes on the more they leak, the wetter the hive gets.
what compounds it is hive strength. weak hives don't defend very well (or at all). keeping on top of varroa before winter is critical.
 
8,886
5,313
maungaturoto
Experience
Commercial
Oh no, I might be beeless too in a couple of weeks the way I'm going! Ha, i haven't found anything easy during this first year of beekeeping, I went from 1 nuc to 5 hives and constant splitting swarming from last Oct to late autumn, then since winter its 3 hives, dampness, bugs and varroa. I've just united my 2 weakest hives, first time I've combined hives so I'm keen to see what happens. It's certainly a constant learning curve peppered with occasional disappointment.. not the relaxing hobby I had envisioned for myself 🤣
one common issue beginners tend to have is understanding the size of the hive.
highly recommend getting a good known beek to check, or at the very least post some pics up.
very very common for beginners to split average hives and turn them into weak hives and think they are good. then wonder why they fail over winter.
its usually a big eye opener when they see good hives.
try to get a look through a known good beeks hives so you can get a feel of the size.
 
8
1
Patumahoe
Experience
Beginner
whats the site like?
usually that sort of issue is because the site is dark and damp. bees really like warm dry locations.
2nd common cause is people leaving supers on over winter. hives leak, the more boxes on the more they leak, the wetter the hive gets.
what compounds it is hive strength. weak hives don't defend very well (or at all). keeping on top of varroa before winter is critical.
Thanks for your reply, Site is good, lots of sun out in the open, northfacing, not flood prone. OK i did leave a super of stores on each over winter as I wanted to be sure they had enough, but obviously now that had made the leaking worse.. Varroa levels seemed good going into winter as I was checking, I think where I went wrong there was waiting to late to open (early August) and treat again? I know it's been ###### wet weather and winds here rural sth auck but also try to narrow down where I've gone wrong along the way...
 

Alastair

Founder Member
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Auckland
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Hi Amber you have not necessarily "gone wrong", dampness in hives over winter and these slugs can happen to most of us, I get a few hives like this every year, with these giant sized tiger slugs, I think they are called.

As per Tristan, strong hives in dry locations are much less likely to be affected. But a cluster of bees is a living organism which breaths, and generates moisture. All it takes is for that moisture to come in contact with a colder surface and it condenses, making an environment those slugs can move into.

A big strong hive full of bees will ventilate better and generally be more in control of the whole hive and prevent condensation, but we don't always have that through winter.

So me, when I find this happening, I flick the slugs out, although they may just move straight back so it's more about fixing the environment. As your hive grows in bee numbers the problem will resolve, do make sure the hives have enough ventilation. Although the hive defender base is ventilated, this may help with ventilation, but in some situations can also make moisture ingress worse. Good you also have a solid bottom board, to help you analyze what works best in your apiary.
 
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Mummzie

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It's certainly a constant learning curve peppered with occasional disappointment.. not the relaxing hobby I had envisioned for myself 🤣
the first winter with bees is a lot like having children. The first child/winter is stressful & full of worry. Its a bit more relaxing with the next ones.
I hope the combine works well.

Something to consider-insulation on the top of the hive. Mine have a thick chunk of polystyrene between the crown board and the roof. Its made the hives a lot drier.
 
8
1
Patumahoe
Experience
Beginner
Hi Amber you have not necessarily "gone wrong", dampness in hives over winter and these slugs can happen to most of us, I get a few hives like this every year, with these giant sized tiger slugs, I think they are called.

As per Tristan, strong hives in dry locations are much less likely to be affected. But a cluster of bees is a living organism which breaths, and generates moisture. All it takes is for that moisture to come in contact with a colder surface and it condenses, making an environment those slugs can move into.

A big strong hive full of bees will ventilate better and generally be more in control of the whole hive and prevent condensation, but we don't always have that through winter.

So me, when I find this happening, I flick the slugs out, although they may just move straight back so it's more about fixing the environment. As your hive grows in bee numbers the problem will resolve, do make sure the hives have enough ventilation. Although the hive defender base is ventilated, this may help with ventilation, but in some situations can also make moisture ingress worse. Good you also have a solid bottom board, to help you analyze what works best in your apiary.
Thanks Alastair

Yes I suspect this year is maybe more likely to have problems since this wet weather hasn't let up a whole lot. I have most definitely been evicting them and flinging them across the paddock with my hive tool or squishing them, they are those massive tiger slugs. I honestly wasn't expecting to see so much wildlife in my hives. Definitely noticed how a weak hive is suspectable to bugs moving on (and everything else!).

I am now thinking ahead to how I can best set up my hives for next winter, if it's going to be possible to overwinter in just one FD box and try to minimise the issues of dampness, bugs and mouldy frames like I've had this year.
 
8
1
Patumahoe
Experience
Beginner
the first winter with bees is a lot like having children. The first child/winter is stressful & full of worry. Its a bit more relaxing with the next ones.
I hope the combine works well.

Something to consider-insulation on the top of the hive. Mine have a thick chunk of polystyrene between the crown board and the roof. Its made the hives a lot drier.
Thanks, the weaker of the 2 weak hives i combined has the tiniest queen I've ever seen. It had 2 small empty queen cells upon inspection today which I was surprised to see, so she must have just hatched, but even then I'm guessing a tiny queen will not be much chop so I'm not holding my breath. I'm pinning my hopes on my healthy looking 3rd hive. I'm sure I'll be able to split it off in no time and recoup. Thanks for the tip about the polystyrene, I'll try some of that for next winter
 

Mummzie

Staff member
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Tasman
Experience
Hobbyist
Thanks, the weaker of the 2 weak hives i combined has the tiniest queen I've ever seen. It had 2 small empty queen cells upon inspection today which I was surprised to see, so she must have just hatched, but even then I'm guessing a tiny queen will not be much chop so I'm not holding my breath. I'm pinning my hopes on my healthy looking 3rd hive. I'm sure I'll be able to split it off in no time and recoup. Thanks for the tip about the polystyrene, I'll try some of that for next winter
maybe hold off on splitting until you have a really strong healthy hive. A split in late summer/Early autumn will be able to build up enough for winter and queens are more easily obtained /mated.

Perhaps work on rebuilding the one with what sounds like it has virgin queens in it...using a little assistance from your better hive. Tristans post #5 is very accurate.
If you are not in the position of having access to an experienced beekeeper, or able to join a club or group nearby, take photos and post them here to get feedback from what is seen.
Information about hive setup( ie 1xFD broodbox, QE, Honey super ) a photo of the box from above when its opened-and a photo of the brood frames will be most useful.
 
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