The subject says it all, and my question is, is this normal? Or Nosema or something? My 4 hives made it fine through the winter and they are actively bringing in pollen to each hive. But I only started this endeavor late last summer so much is still new to me. Some hives look slightly stronger than others but I have never seen varroa on these bees and have been using grease patties and started smoking with FGMO just for good measure. Also treated them once in the fall for Nosema. Is it normal for them to defecate on the front of the hive in long, say half inch stripes or do they have loose bowels, or bad hygiene or worse?
[This message has been edited by Bill_newbee (edited April 09, 2004).]
The REAL question is are there poopie stripes IN the hive. They are like birds. They don't really care what they poop on.
Once again a reply I didn't anticipate. I will certainly have to take a look. Last time I looked inside a couple of the hives, I didn't see any that I can recall. Are you saying then that this is normal on the outside, and if they are doing this inside that there is a health problem? As I said before, there has been no sign of varroa, but as far as any other disease, I am clueless. They seem healthy enough and are busy bringing in pollen.
I have only had that problem once. It was during a break in the weather in mid winter and only one hive of about six.
Was the crap like dark tar or light brownish yellow and translucent?
When there is a lot of it IN the hive they have dysentery. They MAY have Nosema, but dysentery is not necessarily Nosema. If there isn't any in the hive I wouldn't worry about it.
There are a lot of causes of dysentary besides Nosema. If they get some rotting fruit instead of nectar or they are confined too long etc.
Hmm, then this in NOT normal you say? I will take a look tomorrow at the color, but I think it was dark, tar colored. Should I do a "taste test" too? But no really, last time I inspected the frames, everything looked super. No mold, AFB, anything out of the ordinary to me, but given my limited experience at this point I'd rather catch a problem before it develops.
If there is none IN the hive, I wouldn't sweat it myself.
Ok, let's say they have dysentery for discussion. What is the fix? Time or something else?
Thanks for the help, you guys and gals make this endeavor so much more pleasant. Without help at the beginning, most of us beginners would crash and burn.
It's really no different than when you get a good case of the Hershey squirts. Time takes care of it.
I would not be so laid back about this.
Normal "bee poop" is yellow. These are the small dots
that you will see on your windshield after parking , the
ones that must be scraped off with a razor blade.
Brown bee poop is never a good sign.
You need to test for nosema with either the naked-eye
"midgut test", or the much more accurate approach of
using a microscope. You have the mighty MARREC program
at Penn State serving you, so you can likely send them
a sampling of bees in alcohol for them to test. Sadly,
there is no test for nosema that does not require one to
sacrifice some bees.
If you see these stains when the bees have had few opportunities
to fly, you should be less concerned about "sick bees", and
more concerned about just what they have been overwintering on.
If these stains appear after the bees have had opportunities
to fly, there is cause for more concern.
Nosema is perhaps the most commonly-ignored problem in beekeeping,
and results in weak colonies that never perform as well as
other colonies in the same yard.
If you have only one colony showing these stains, and other
colonies not showing these stains, this would be another clue
that you should feed them some fumadil in syrup, and quick.
Bill_newbee, relax. It sounds like nothing out of the normal.
Jfischer hit the nail on the head. These were semi-weak hives that have been feeding on sugar water throughout the winter as weather permitted. This was the cause. Wintering on something other than capped honey can cause all sorts of crap. But you got them through winter, and there is nothing to worry about now.
Just tell your wife to take a small scrubby and clean the poop off. Oh, and let me know what she says.
Bjornbee, I should've read this post yesterday when she was bucket washing my truck and her car. Ha! I have her trained, but not THAT well. Haven't gotten her into a beesuit since she last suited up at your place. I failed to mention the sugar syrup, yes they have had a strong sugar diet all winter long when weather permitted. Went through 75 pounds to be exact. Maybe that WAS the cause.
[This message has been edited by Bill_newbee (edited April 10, 2004).]
Folks, do you think it is worthwhile to take the exercise of submitting a few sample bees for testing? I wonder what all they can tell me about the bees.
>Folks, do you think it is worthwhile to take the exercise of submitting a few sample bees for testing? I wonder what all they can tell me about the bees.
The question is:
What will you do if they have Nosema?
What will you do if they don't have Nosema?
For me both questions have the same answer. I'll wait it out.
For you maybe you want to do something and fumidil is acceptable to you. Then you would want to know for sure.
Michael, I take it you are saying that if they have Nosema, then Fumidil is the only remedy, aside from letting nature take its own course?
>Michael, I take it you are saying that if they have Nosema, then Fumidil is the only remedy, aside from letting nature take its own course?