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Thread: Stuff Happens.

  1. #1
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    Question Stuff Happens.

    as many may know is a well known expression that many would say originated in New York City's, "Little Italy" or in the neighborhoods of Brooklyn. In its implied humor, it describes unfortunate events that occur which one has absolutely no control over, must inevitably accept, and do ones best to deal with, and hopefully overcome. Having lived most of my life in NYC, I have heard and used this expression often.

    Well, wherever it originated, stuff happened to me this week - on this my second season of beekeeping. First, I found that I have a queenless hive with laying workers. You can read the discussion here:
    http://www.biobees.com/forum/viewtop...?p=45819#45819

    I have top bar hives exclusively so I figured I'd post it here.

    Today, I also discovered that one of the four nucs I acquired this spring is having big problems too. (I have two previous hives that barely survived the winter.) To keep it simple: I found little black rubbery dried up larvae on the screened bottom and many of the larvae inside the cells, in various stages of growth, seem blackened and dried up. The white larvae seem like they are not floating in liquid as in a healthy hive. The brood pattern is very irregular - all over the place - and in general it seems as if the hive is not thriving. I went to my beekeeping book and it says I have a bad queen. What solutions would you suggest for this situation? Giving this colony a bar of brood and eggs? Re-queening?

    And what is this strange ailment killing the larvae making them black???

    I read something online about a "stonebrood" that seems to fit the description. (?)
    Last edited by Barry; 06-13-2010 at 08:01 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Stuff Happens.

    Did a little research and it seems it might be chilled brood. Will look in tomorrow and see what has developed.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Stuff Happens.

    Chalkbrood?
    Lots of pictures if you do a google search. See if yours looks like that.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Stuff Happens.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aram View Post
    Chalkbrood?
    Lots of pictures if you do a google search. See if yours looks like that.

  5. #5
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    Question Re: Stuff Happens and then they die?

    Checked this colony just an hour or so ago.
    Looks bad. Very few bees - maybe a few hundred - very lethargic. Dead bees on the floor. No honey or even nectar but plenty of pollen scattered all over the place. I saw maybe 5 drones and no capped drone cells. I saw capped worker cells scattered about - shotgun style.

    A few cells had dead emerging bees. The larvae looked like they were drying out. And I actually found the queen in the midst of this disaster! I'm too new at this to tell if she was a virgin or mated queen but whatever she was she has her work cut out for her.

    Over all I have the feeling this is a lost colony. It seems they are starving. It seems obvious because there aren't enough bees to forage and very few to nurse what's there. I gave them a half bar of honey from my strongest hive but I don't think it will make much difference. It started from a 4 bar nuc six or seven weeks ago and it's hard to believe this is what happened.


    What could explain all this? I started three other nucs at the same time and they all seem to be coming along okay. Ideas?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Stuff Happens and then they die?

    Here's the google image gallery on "chalkbrood". Do yours look like that? You need to establish the problem before finding a solution.
    I heard it said that stress and humidity can cause chalkbrood. I don't know of any treatment for it, it usually goes away with increased ventilation.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Stuff Happens.

    Chalkbrood goes from white to black as it gets mature/worse. Chalkbrood is also called rattlebrood by old beekeepers. Shake the frame and listen. Several really bad diseases cause dark brood carcasses like American Foulbrood and European Foulbrood. Ropy test is quick check as well as stage of brood affected. If it is AFB all your hives will be dead soon when the stronger hives rob the weaker and spread the spores. There are some less common brood diseases but you might be fortunate enough to have one of these rare maladies.

  8. #8
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    Dalkeith, Ont, Canada
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    Default Re: Stuff Happens.

    might be chalk brood or sac brood, they are both fungus ailments, I wouldn't use the comb from this hive, also clean your tools after inspection just to be sure.
    My blog @ Bee Crazy

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Stuff Happens and then they die?

    Stone, Sorry I forgot to add the link:
    "Chalkbrood images"
    Then there is also... do I dare say it... "Stonebrood"

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Stuff Happens and then they die?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stone View Post
    I gave them a half bar of honey from my strongest hive but I don't think it will make much difference. It started from a 4 bar nuc six or seven weeks ago and it's hard to believe this is what happened.
    ... Ideas?
    Do you have another nuc or hive body available? I'd shake all the bees in another, clean hive, put the new hive on the old location, discard all the old comb and give them a bar of brood from a strong colony. Reduce their space to manageable size, they have to be able to ventilate it. Our days are in the high 80s and humid and nights are in the 50s. Lots of moisture can gather in the hive if they can't ventilate it. I suspect it's the same where you are. They might make it still. If it's fungal the fungus is in the wax and woodenware as well. The white, dead larvae turning black is actually fungus growing on the dead larvae.

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