Masses of small hive beetle larvae on a hive bottom board, and larvae on comb
The beetle lays its eggs on or near beeswax combs. The eggs hatch, producing small larvae, similar in appearance to wax moth larvae. You can differentiate the beetle larvae from wax moth larvae by examining their legs. Both species have three sets of legs just behind the head, but small hive beetles larvae lack the series of paired prolegs that run the length of the wax moth larvae's body. Small hive beetle larvae consume pollen and comb but also will eat larval honey bees. After completing the larval stage, they crawl out of the hive and pupate in the soil. Adult beetles will feed on honey bee eggs.