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  1. #1
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    Default Deformed Wing Virus

    Long story short. A guy that I work with check on his hives yesterday and on of them the population is reduces and has a large population of bees with deformed wings. What should he do now? I think it is too late for the standard mite treatments to be effective. Any advice would be helpful.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Being a cattle producer as well as a beekeeper i would say put the pencil to the paper and make your decision that way.
    Add the cost to treat with mite treatment
    Add cost for sugarwater and fumigillan
    the cost to requeen
    the cost to add bees from a strong healthy hive to a weak sick one
    the cost of keeping for the winter and the chance it would survive.
    the cost if the mites spread to other hives and do the same thing

    Then figure in the cost of replacing the hive in the spring.

    Beekeeping is an agricultural business, and should be treated as such....unless money is no option

    I went through this this summer. It was too late to make the hive viable. So i destroyed the bees and the comb incase there was disease in the comb. I thought it was the right decision at the time and after several months I still think it was the right decision.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by honeyshack View Post
    ...So i destroyed the bees and the comb incase there was disease in the comb. I thought it was the right decision at the time and after several months I still think it was the right decision.
    Wow.

    Would you care to share your reasoning for destroying the comb?

  4. #4
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    Default uncertain future

    IMO it is really late in the season to expect to recover from the virus. If the brood reared for overwintering were compromised and the cluster is too small then no matter what treatment you apply- they probabley won't make it. If you do decide to treat this late in the season you might want to look at oxalic acid. Good luck

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dug_6238 View Post
    Wow.

    Would you care to share your reasoning for destroying the comb?
    Comb is a cheap replacement to stop the spread of disease. If there is a virus in the comb or if AFB was starting to take a hold in the hive as a secondary infection I would rather stop it now than after it infected a yard site. Destroying twenty frames is cheap insurance compared to what might be.
    then there were two other reasons:
    1. there was brood emerging. As we watched the bees emerge, they were sick. So why put it into another hive?
    2. As were were working with the sick hive ( we moved the hive home to work with it) we were watching what was going on. We noticed that because they were weak, they could not defend themselves from robbing. These bees that were robbing were from a different yard site. They found the sick hive fast, with in a hour. I did not want to spread the infection so i chose to burn the frames. Small price to pay.

  6. #6
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    If you decide not to take extraordinary measures to save this hive, then by all means go for it. Especially if whatever you have for "standard" treatments in on hand or readily and affordably available. The way I see it is that you have symptoms of a colony that is suffering badly from disease spread by mites. There's no telling from here what "large population" means compared to your already reduced population but I'd guess your brood is way down. Brood down means that you have less mites in those cells and more exposed. More exposed means easier to treat. But, you also have a population and longevity problem. Since your sick bees aren't going to start living longer, why not treat and see what happens. I've had colonies appear to be stumbling, only to come back after a re-queening / brood cycle break.

    None of this means that the inherent diseases will go away by treating with mites. You need new bees to help with that process. But, taking the mites down a few notches won't hurt at all.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  7. #7
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    It's very late in the year to be able to save this hive. Reduced brood causes the remaining brood to be mostly mite infected. What mites are left over (not enough brood for them all) will start attatching themselves to the adult bees. Wing deformity and IAPV will abound in the hive. If I had that situation and I felt the need to attempt to save the hive, I'd try these drastic measures...

    Set the hive aside from where it's at, and in it's place, put a broodbox on a screen bottom board.

    Go thru the hive, find the frame with the queen on it and set it aside so you know where she's at.

    Shake all the bees off all the frames 30 feet or more away from the hivestand with the empty broodbox now on it. As you shake the bees off, put the beeless frames into the empty broodbox.

    Only put frames that have honey and pollen stores in them into that box. Do not put any frames of brood in the box, those should be left out of the new setup. If you have enough honey and pollen frames and bees enough to over fill that single box, then add a second box. Keep the most filled frames into the top box.

    Also put 2 to 4 frames that are drawn but mostly empty in the center of the bottom box that you have made with the beeless frames.

    by now, the box/boxes will have bees that have flown back home. Pick the queen off the frame you have set aside, and drop her into the newly made boxes. She will immediately go down into the combs. Shake her frame clean of bees.

    Powder sugar treat the new setup every 4 days for a 12 to 16 days.

    The wingless bees will not be able to get back to the new hive setup. All brood will have been removed to remove any new hatching mites (that brood was infected anyways). The hive will be broodless so the powder sugar treatments will have greatest impact of getting rid of any remaining mites. There will be some frames open enough for the queen to lay, if she will this late in the year. Add a full pollen patty to the hive in between the boxes, it will help to enduce laying by the queen.

    This is a drastic measure, but is what I myself would try if the hive was strong enough in bees to try to save this late in the year. If the queen will keep laying you'll have better chances of the hive making it. She needs some fresh brood for younger bees to tend to her and to tend to brood and to be the bees still alive in the spring.

    Best of luck to your friend.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tucbar View Post
    Long story short. A guy that I work with check on his hives yesterday and on of them the population is reduces and has a large population of bees with deformed wings. What should he do now? I think it is too late for the standard mite treatments to be effective. Any advice would be helpful.

    Thanks
    Tucbar - In my opinion, it doesn't hurt to try to save the colony if you'd like to go that route. You may save them, and you may not. If you don't save them, you're at least not starting from the ground up next year - by all means do not destroy that comb. Destroying the comb because the bees on it have mites and DWV could be likened to treating a common cold with Chemotherapy.

    Could someone who still has the link post with the info on the study done on DWV and its presence in the queen, eggs, honey, and bees in many 'otherwise healthy-appearing' colonies. I'd hate to see anyone sold on the notion that they'd want to destroy comb in a colony where there's really no indicator for AFB.

    Ray's idea is actually a good one. I could see myself going with that approach.


    Quote Originally Posted by honeyshack View Post
    Comb is a cheap replacement to stop the spread of disease. If there is a virus in the comb or if AFB was starting to take a hold in the hive as a secondary infection I would rather stop it now than after it infected a yard site. Destroying twenty frames is cheap insurance compared to what might be.
    then there were two other reasons:
    1. there was brood emerging. As we watched the bees emerge, they were sick. So why put it into another hive?
    2. As were were working with the sick hive ( we moved the hive home to work with it) we were watching what was going on. We noticed that because they were weak, they could not defend themselves from robbing. These bees that were robbing were from a different yard site. They found the sick hive fast, with in a hour. I did not want to spread the infection so i chose to burn the frames. Small price to pay.
    I'd hate to see anyone sold on the notion that they'd want to destroy comb in a colony where there's really no indicator for AFB.

    There is a really good study that's been done on DWV and its presence in many colonies. Seems that the gist of it was that while DWV may be present, it doesn't normally manifest itself as far as physically deformed bees until the mite load has weakened the bees enough for it to take hold. I'd rather see people understand this a little better and not treat mite problems by burning their hives. Save that for AFB.

  9. #9
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    So my question is what do you do with the frames of brood?
    What chance are you willing to take at the spread of disease?

    I have seen first hand what disease can do in feed lots while working there. I have seen what treating and treating can do to the bottom line. I have also seen what can be saved or cost cutting with an ounce of prevention. Secondary infections have a way of creeping up when you do not realize it. I have also seen the costs in keeping our own livestock. The $ going down the drain treating something in hopes it becomes viable again.


    I would rather destroy 20 frames of comb than a yard site later on down the road.

    It has taken a while but we have learned the hard way to set price limits on treating anything. When it comes to cattle we have a set price. Once the price has been met the cow is on her own. If she has shown little improvement through drug treatments, she sees cow heaven. In actuallity we have seen a decrease with treating since we have taken that stance. Our genetics have improved because we keep healthier cattle. When you loose $300.00 a head at the point of sale due to markets you learn to cost things out because ultimately it means putting food on the table and paying bills.
    This mentallity is something we have carried to our bees because we want to make $ not loose. Yes it is a side line to cows but in the end it is still part of the business and needs to be treated as such.

    Everything that happens on our farm is pencilled out. The math is done, the herd health / apiary health is top priority, and we try to stay afloat by getting rid of the weak stock.

  10. #10
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    Based on what might have been in the hive, I probably wouldn't have elected to destroy the comb. On the other hand, I'll never fault anyone for taking and extra precautionary measure just to be more sure. I think the comb was fine...but I'll give kudo's for an approach that won't hurt anyone in the long run.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  11. #11
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    I'm pretty sure that our state inspectors don't recommend burning colonies to address DWV down this way. Have you checked to see if your inspectors up there recommend that?

    Quote Originally Posted by honeyshack View Post
    So my question is what do you do with the frames of brood?
    What chance are you willing to take at the spread of disease?

    I have seen first hand what disease can do in feed lots while working there. I have seen what treating and treating can do to the bottom line. I have also seen what can be saved or cost cutting with an ounce of prevention. Secondary infections have a way of creeping up when you do not realize it. I have also seen the costs in keeping our own livestock. The $ going down the drain treating something in hopes it becomes viable again.


    I would rather destroy 20 frames of comb than a yard site later on down the road.

    It has taken a while but we have learned the hard way to set price limits on treating anything. When it comes to cattle we have a set price. Once the price has been met the cow is on her own. If she has shown little improvement through drug treatments, she sees cow heaven. In actuallity we have seen a decrease with treating since we have taken that stance. Our genetics have improved because we keep healthier cattle. When you loose $300.00 a head at the point of sale due to markets you learn to cost things out because ultimately it means putting food on the table and paying bills.
    This mentallity is something we have carried to our bees because we want to make $ not loose. Yes it is a side line to cows but in the end it is still part of the business and needs to be treated as such.

    Everything that happens on our farm is pencilled out. The math is done, the herd health / apiary health is top priority, and we try to stay afloat by getting rid of the weak stock.


    Honeyshack - I think that maybe you proceed from the false assumption that you need to destroy your bees and your equipment to eradicate DWV from your apiary. This is not the case. DWV can be addressed by lowering the mite load. Once the mite load is lowered and the colony strength returns to normal, the bees will in most cases be healthy enough to keep the DWV in check.

    Perhaps you'd see my point if you think of this in terms of transmission vectors. How is DWV transmitted? Is it only by mites? No, as you already know. However, if we'd follow the reasoning you're using, we'd be telling folks to burn their woodenware if they found mites, or especially if they found any DWV. I mean - in your practice, where do you draw the line? If you think that DWV and PMS are going to infect bees that touch your comb, then I guess we should leave you with that impression. I would ask a little more of a rhetorical question though - where do you draw the line? If the comb and propolis is infected, then you burn your boxes too, right? There's burr comb and propolis all over the inside of those hive bodies. Wax bits and propolis end up on the bottom board too, so that's scrap - right? Ditto for the inner cover, and you might have had some bees crawl along the bottom-side of the outer cover...might be smart to burn that too. It seems to all have gotten a little out of hand.

    <<So my question is what do you do with the frames of brood?>>
    If I wouldn't go the route of destroying all the brood, but if one did want to, they could freeze the frames to kill the mites. I do this all summer with my drone comb.
    <<What chance are you willing to take at the spread of disease?>>
    I think that maybe you are misinformed on DWV transmission vectors and the actual reasons as to why the DW Virus manifests itself in the form of physically deformed bees. Focus on getting your mite loads under control. Your bees aren't your enemy, the mites on them are. You wouldn't amputate a foot to treat an ingrown toenail...

    Papar and Ray both gave Tucbar some good suggestions. Get the mite load under control and once new bees are being raised this will help keep the DWV in check.

    Quote Originally Posted by honeyshack View Post
    ...This mentallity is something we have carried...because we want to make $ not loose.
    ...we try to stay afloat by getting rid of the weak stock.
    That's fine if that's your approach. I just want to make sure that someone is placing a disclaimer out there for the newer members (who are out there learning and gathering info) that there are simpler, more cost-effective ways of dealing with mites, DWV, and PMS, and these methods need not require further expeditures to needlessly replace equipment. Honeyshack, if you want to destroy your equipment in the name of saving money, I suggest you do so and will even offer to send you a listing of folks who sell replacement equipment.

  12. #12
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    I am not destroying the comb because of deformed winged virus and i guess this is what i am trying to say...
    I destroyed the comb because:
    "if it got that far, what else is getting out of hand or control in the way of illness, mites?" SECONDARY INFECTIONS..this happens at stress point times.
    "what is going on that i can not see at this point and time?"
    "what else will this hive have to fight?"
    "will it spread via robbing of the weak hive?"
    "what will it cost me now to treat to make this hive viable? how much will it cost me if I have to treat the whole yard due to the spread of other diseases because of robbing or inserting "dirty comb'"?
    "after all treatments and requeening will it survive?"
    "how much would it cost to replace the comb and bees of one hive in comparrison to say 25 or 30 hives?"
    "how much will it cost IF i have to replace a yard site cause i could not get it under control?
    Yes reducing mite loads will be extrememly benificial in the long run, but in the here and now....what happens if....

  13. #13
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    Oh, I see. What you need is a pretty comprehensive IPM strategy, that way you never get to this point.

    Others do try to 'fix' the situation and usually do well with it, as have I. I still don't know anyone besides you who destroys comb or equipment before there's evidence of an infection. I still wouldn't recommend to others to destroy equipment or comb that had mites based on the assumption that there just might be something hiding in there - I think most would want to find evidence - a deadout with AFB syptoms, etc... Is anyone else up your way doing that?

    Honeyshack - just keep in mind that AFB and DWV are two different things and are dealt with in different ways - we're not confusing AFB treatment with DWV treatment, right? How do other folks up your way address other pests and diseases? What strategy do you use to manage your mite levels in general?

    How do you address drift?
    Last edited by dug_6238; 11-06-2008 at 12:21 PM. Reason: I really can't spell.

  14. #14
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    This thread brings to mind another question I would have had.

    If I were to decide to cull the bees, but save the comb - what would I do about the comb that had some brood still in it?

    I have had good luck washing out open brood with a hose, but what about the capped brood? Would you spend the time to uncap them and try to get them out, or just destroy those combs that had capped brood and try to save the rest? Surely you can't just put capped brood in storage and let it rot.. It gets nasty pretty fast.
    Troy

  15. #15
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    I've found that they don't make such a mess if they dry out (uncapped) before they have a chance to get too funky. I've put boxes on strong colonies (after a good freeze) to let them clean them out as well, with similarly good results.

    Just kill the mites with a good hard freeze if they're not already dead. If not sure of what you're looking at in a dead-out, have someone who knows double-check, or send a sample to the Beltsville Maryland lab for a free analysis. A healthy colony will clean out the comb for reuse pretty quickly, given that it's put on at a time when they can get to it.

  16. #16
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    It is my asssumption that Deformed Wing Virus, like other viruses, lives quite happily in happy adult bees...no problems. Along comes a varroa and and sucks up some infected hemolymph. In it's second move it carries this virus to a 7/8 day old larva and infects it. The virus then interupts wing development and other healthy formation of this larva. Happiness is ended. One needs to keep the virus out of the brood. I don't think you can keep it out of the hive.

    Honeyshack. When it comes to beekeeping you certainly know cows. If destroying equipment out of hand was a cost effective way of protecting an apiary, commercial beeks would leave a trail of burning hives wherever they went. They often have thousands to protect and they don't act as you did. They use pencils too. The most valuable thing a 'keeper can have is drawn comb. That's why you got such a reaction. There is virtue in not letting comb get too old and a 3 year cycling out of old BROOD comb is a good thing.

    Dickm
    Last edited by dickm; 11-07-2008 at 06:07 PM.

  17. #17
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    If you decide to do my methodology, just freeze the brood combs for a day then store, re-use next year. The bees will clean them up and take them just fine.

    Another option to the prob is, pinch the queen, shake the bees out and remove the hive and stand. The healthy bees will join other hives (it was mentioned the person had other hives) to help give them strength for the winter. In the spring, could then raise some queens and do splits for increase.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by dickm View Post
    Honeyshack. When it comes to beekeeping you certainly know cows. If destroying equipment out of hand was a cost effective way of protecting an apiary, commercial beeks would leave a trail of burning hives wherever they went. They often have thousands to protect and they don't act as you did. They use pencils too. The most valuable thing a 'keeper can have is drawn comb. That's why you got such a reaction. There is virtue in not letting comb get too old and a 3 year cycling out of old BROOD comb is a good thing.

    Dickm
    i guess my way of thinking is 20 frames from one hive is not alot in the grand scheme of things. Especially when you replace brood frames any how each year. If you are changing out old frames every three years that would be 7 frames a year in a double brood box.
    As well, you have honey frames that are getting darker with age, especially if you want white honey, so they get to go into the brood chambers. And to replace the honey comb, then you buy new frames or build new frames to replace the frames that you changed out.
    Then you have hives that died out in the winter. Not disease die outs but rather ones that might have starved, you now have those frames in which to build a new hive.
    I admit that in the big picture i am new at this (i think 4 years now). I have yet to deal with disease outbreaks in a big way. That may come at some time.
    How others in my area deal with this. There are two other beeks. One is a friend of ours and been in it a year longer. He would do the same thing.
    The other is older, and big on not wasting a thing.
    The bee inspector came out and inspected our hives cause i was freaked out by what i saw with these deformed wings and had other questions as well. She did not say what i did was over kill, but that i did a good thing. As well, this summer we got our honey house federally inspected. While getting inspected he asked about our hive health and asked some questions as to what we do. I told him about this hive that we destroyed, and he said good job.
    I understand from a $ perspective that comb is a demand commodity in the beekeeping world. But, maybe if we as beekeepers looked at comb as yes, a commodity, but also took that into consideration when it came to bee health maybe we would not be where we are now...poor bee health.The big picture in bee health has to encompas everything. From the drugs we use, to the bees, the management to keep hives healthy. This includes the comb they live on.
    And if your freezers are like my freezers, they are full of the garden harvest in the summer and unable to hold two boxes of frames.
    Think of it along the lines of the common cold in humans. Would you drink from the same cup as someone who was coughing? Would you use their snot rag? Like washing the bed linens after having a cold, or tossing a bit of bleach in the dishwasher when someone is sick

  19. #19
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    Honeyshack - I'm thinking that most folks will have a better understanding of the bigger picture when it comes to preventing or curbing disease spread, and won't fall so easily for using treatments for "Disease A" where only "Disease B" is present. OK, at least I'm hoping.

    Understanding that DWV is already present in most hives is the first step. So are many other viruses. This has been confirmed in many studies. Transmission of DWV is not through contact with comb, especially not in cases where it results in bees with visibly crinkled wings or damaged exoskeletons. Read DickM's note - he's right on the money.

    http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=18959444

    http://aem.asm.org/cgi/content/abstract/70/12/7185

    http://vir.sgmjournals.org/cgi/content/full/86/12/3419

    If your plan is to cull off the sickly in hopes of keeping your other bees from getting these other viruses, you're misinformed - they most likely already have some level of infection. Controlling outbreak via the correct measures is the key, not burning comb. With DWV, it's controlling mite infestation levels and also maintaining bee lines with better genetics - ones that are able to better deal with mite problems.

    Telling someone to burn good comb to address DWV is bad advice - it truly does NOTHING to address DWV and it's an unnecessary waste of valuable comb (remember your posts were oriented toward the math you've done and cutting costs). AFB is really the only reason to burn good comb, and that is not related to DWV. I know that your intention is good and you're just trying to connect the dots in developing an IPM strategy of your own, but AFB and DWV are two dots that should not be connected in this case.


    Quote Originally Posted by honeyshack View Post
    ...Think of it along the lines of the common cold in humans. Would you drink from the same cup as someone who was coughing? Would you use their snot rag?...
    HA. Ok, good analogy. Your bees do drink from the same glass. If you think of this in terms of both vertical and horizontal transmission vectors, you won't stop this (DWV) from being present in all your hives - your drones mate with queens from other hives, mites transmit it by biting, and it's even propagated by drift (remember I asked in my other post how you address drift?) - the method for addressing DWV is addressing mite levels. Burning comb is pure nonsense. I'd suspect that your inspector's comments may have been taken out of context - if your inspection programs are state-funded as ours are, the inspectors should hopefully be better educated than that. The only other explanation that I can come up with would be the presence of AFB in your yard that you may not have mentioned. Again, comb burning is really bad advice if you are referring to DWV.
    Last edited by dug_6238; 11-10-2008 at 09:04 AM.

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