Recently a friend of mine told me that a colony of bees lived in an old house, and asked the owner if he wanted them removed. I was asked to get them out, and decided to give it a shot. I didn't want to tear the place down, so I went to look at it. The colony built up between to studs of the wall. Apparently they have been there a few years. My friend also told me that they had swarmed in the spring, and showed me were the split is as well.
Doing some reasearch, and having some new queens in some nucs, I thought I could strengthen a couple of them. I took a new queen, actually just started laying, and a weak nuc to the site, rigged a cone, sealed the rest of the holes, and started catching some bees. Yesterday, we had some downpours here, and I checked them out last night.
I need to backtrack a little. I had another queen ready to emerge, and ripe, so I removed my original queen in the trap nuc, and placed the queencell in the nuc. My thought were to have it mate with the wild bees, for resistance purposes.
Now back to the rain and checking on it last night. I taped an entrance with duct tape and it came off last night. This morning early, I returned and stapled a screen to that entrance and left. I decided to return after work and check out the new queen. Doing my inspections, I did find her, and she looks nice, but I also noticed some "other" things. My older queen had laid eggs, and had larvae in her nest before I removed her, so I figured it would be capped, and developing. To my dismay, I found some cells caps opened like a hinged door, and empty. Investigating further, my wife and I noticed "mummies", black and white on the nuc bottom. I had never seen this before, but I remember reading about it, and immediately said chalkbrood. As soon as I got home, I searched "google" for chalkbrood, and it was identical, down to the capcells and color of the mummies. I further read that it is caused by a fungus, and treatments are few and far. I am a farmer by nature, and would like to stay away from chemicals if possible.
Now, my options, abandon this project, since it is away from my bee yard, take the time to learn about how to handle the problem, or just see what happens, so I know.
I would like to understand what to do, especially if it would ever happen in the bee yard. My conclusions after reading:
Since it is a fungus, it is probably because the house is rotting, and damp. I guess I need to get some air flowing to dry it up. I read, adding bees, would help, I guess because they are healthy, and feed the larvae, and feeding them, beause they are probably hungry.
Any help with this to salvage some bees is appreciated. Let me know your thought and recommendations....
Hook, because I have one!!!!!
How much chalkbrood is there? In small quatities, it won't threaten the colony. You may well have a queen of a susceptible strain,in which case the answer would be to requeen. Meanwhile, you could treat with essential oil. Thymol works as it's a fungicide as well as a miticide; I haven't tried the others.
This spring I started with a 5 frames nuc (Cardboard box, new queen), I put the colony on their frames in a brand new hive Â…and guess what they got a Chalckbrood.
The problem was resolved in a few weeks by putting my hive in full sun (thank you Scott).
Now I have a strong colony in three brood chambers.