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Thread: Deformed wings

  1. #1
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    Default Deformed wings

    Went to check on two of my top bar hives today. Added a quart of sugar syrup to one yesterday and left a partial quart in the hive for them to clean out. Planned on just pulling this jar out today.

    Took a look at hive 2 and noticed a large amount of dead yellow jackets on the ground and lots of drones that had been kicked out. This hive is packed full, no more room to expand. Activity seemed normal. I looked down at my shoe and saw a bee crawling on it. Took a close look and found her to have deformed wings. I found a total of 3 like this.

    Bee in the following photo has sugar stuck to her. I took 2 bees home in the empty sugar syrup jar. Seems they got a bit sticky in the jar.



    I obviously overlooked early signs of a problem. Hive is packed full of bees and they seem to be going strong. Last check of brood pattern indicated a solid pattern is a smaller brood area as the bees started to fill things up with honey. Time to dig back in and check things out.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Deformed wings

    You have a mite problem, and deformed wing virus. Treat for mites.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Deformed wings

    That is one sick little bee. If you want to know how bad the brood is, uncap a few on some frames. pick out the bee and check her out. Look for signs of a bee unable to get out. Her head will be out and the tongue stuck out and dead.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Deformed wings

    DWV= mites, you have a problem and its been a problem for a while, DWV does not just happen overnight.
    A government large enough to provide everything you need is strong enough to take everything you have. T. Jefferson

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Deformed wings

    Treat for mites immediately, the hive MIGHT survive the winter.

    Every day goes by without treating will increase the odds of losing the hive through the winter. A hive can get past the point of no return before it's that obvious to a newish beekeeper.

    BTW, as a TBH keeper, you might have been told in the past that your hive will not get mites because TBH's are protected by natural sized cells. This is a bit of a myth, you do need to treat the hive.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Deformed wings

    Treat for mites immediately, the hive MIGHT survive the winter.
    Or don't treat and they might survive the winter. It really depends on the colony as some colonies can and do handle mite loads that show DWV. I've seen it enough. If you don't treat and they do happen to make it through the winter and into drone production time you will see many under developed and wingless drones outside the entrance and very few deformed workers. The key in my view is to split this colony up if and when they build to swarm mode using their own queen cells. Then you have a chance of these new colonies getting through the next wintering without treatments. That's if you want to stay away from treatments. But if you don't mind treating you may want to do that. Still no guarantee they will make it.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Deformed wings

    Quote Originally Posted by Delta Bay View Post
    Or don't treat and they might survive the winter.
    Not impossible, but HIGHLY unlikely.

    So unlikely in fact, that I'd put money on it.

    I'm a retired beekeeper and now I do disease inspections part time, mostly of hobbyist hives, for our government. I see over and over, hives in fall, in the condition Findlay has described. I explain to the owners about varroa and the need to treat.
    Maybe 1/2 of them believe me and take the trouble to treat the bees. The other 1/2, well they lose the hive.

    Even with treatment, Findlays hive might be past the point of no return unless healthy brood is added to it. I'm basing that, that if he's seen 3 bees with DWV, there's likely a bigger problem he hasn't seen.

    Also, just to be realistic about this, I've been surprised since joining this site, to see that a lot of beekeepers appear to think that a 20% to 50 % loss of hives during winter is "normal".
    I worked for an outfit with 4000+ hives, and we would lose maybe 4 or 5 hives through winter. That's simply because we sent them into winter in a healthy condition, plus we didn't have varroa here back then.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Deformed wings

    plus we didn't have varroa here back then.
    The varroa has changed many things in beekeeping.

    I don't think the varroa has been in your country all that long so I would agree with your observation of very high mortality without treatments and in many cases that is true over here too. In North America the bees have been showing a little more tolerance toward them than when they first landed. In part because of the efforts in developing mite tolerant bees and bees themselves trying to work it out. There are many Keepers that have been treatment free for many years and feral populations are making a decent come back, which I think will help in the long run. There is still a long way to go.

    I started a package imported from your country 4 years ago and have 4 colonies descendent from them today. No treatments at all in that time. They look better today in regards to mites and DWV then the first few years. I'll give it another 3 years to see if this trend continues.

    As a hobbyist I have my bees that make enough honey for me and a little to sell. When fall arrives I always keep my fingers crossed in hope that all the hives will get through to spring and always look forward to see the outcome. This to me is all part of the fun in having bees.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Deformed wings

    I have to agree with Delta Bay. Years of exposure to varroa is improving the resistance. 15 years ago a colony that I overwintered and did not treat for varroa would crash in July or August. Now colonies can go untreated for 3 years or more without crashing. They will show DWV but will not die overwinter and will build and make an average honey crop.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Deformed wings

    I still need to do a mite count. I have a few minutes to check out the hive and found the following.

    Two uncapped pupae, one with brown/dark debris covering it. The other looked normal.

    One bee with deformed wings. Appears to have just hatched out. I opened a few capped cells and didn't find any mites.

    Found one bee acting normal with a mite attached to it. Well, not normal in this photo as she is dead at this point.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Deformed wings

    Yes, agree very much about varroa resistance coming around as a result of not treating, and eventually, this is what will have to happen.

    However, check this page
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...=246829&page=4

    About 1/2 way down the page you'll see a question from me, then a reply. Somewhat depressing. A read of the whole thread is pretty interesting also.

    Seems like at this point there are varroa tolerant bees that can survive, but performance is not as good.

    Interested Delta Bay, that the bees you got from NZ have not been treated in 3 years. Are they still NZ descended queens? If so what strain are they, and if you can remember, who was the supplier?

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Deformed wings

    I think its all trade offs. My bees might as well be pets as far as what I expect from them, and I know there are other hobbyists who feel that way. If I get enough honey for the year next season then I will be a happy camper. For people like me a mite resistant bee that is less productive would be better then a non-resistant bee. I've never read into this mite resistant/productivity relationship before, its interesting to me and now I will have to do some reading on it.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Deformed wings

    I don't think it's that mite resistance ='s lower productivity, it's that the mite resistant ones are carrying a mite load but surviving it, so produce less.

    If they were treated and made almost mite free, they ought to be as productive as any other bee.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Deformed wings

    I think that makes some sense. Lots of information out there to sift though, not all of it reliable :-P

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Deformed wings

    Not all of it reliable, Ha Ha, now there's the thing!

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Deformed wings

    The resistance we have in our bees today has been because the queen producers have selected for resistance. Resistance doesn't necessarly mean lower productivity, ask the Coy family who use Russians and is the largest commercial operation in Arkansas.

    The VSH line of bees were less productive when they were first offered for sale but that has improved over the last few years. The queens offered for sale today are much better queens than those offered just 10 years ago and I believe they will continue to improve.

    More beekeepers are buying II queens and raising their own queens and that will help spread the resistance through swarming. The feral colonies are increasing and swarms from managed colonies are the reason. Varroa is less a problem that 10 or 15 years ago and will become less as time passes.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Deformed wings

    Interested Delta Bay, that the bees you got from NZ have not been treated in 3 years. Are they still NZ descended queens? If so what strain are they, and if you can remember, who was the supplier?
    I was told Italian and don't know the supplier Oldtimer. They where treated before I got them. The original package did not make it the next season. I did take an early July split with queen cells off of it that did over winter. Queens are open mated with whatever is local. Two of these colonies are heading into their 2nd winter and the other 2 their first. How things will look in the spring only time will tell. The trend has been that the older colonies don't make it but I am hopeful they will this year as they look very healthy at this time. I haven't been able to say this about the earlier second year colonies from this group up until now.
    My best surviving colony is a local 2008 cutout that is going into its 3rd winter. This colony built up fast and strong after the cutout and gave me two more colonies that produced a good amount of honey this year and look good going into their second winter.
    Last edited by Delta Bay; 10-08-2010 at 11:57 AM.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Deformed wings

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    I don't think it's that mite resistance ='s lower productivity, it's that the mite resistant ones are carrying a mite load but surviving it, so produce less.
    I think another reason why they do produce less is, it is a trade off of having bees spend time cleaning out the mites and removing the sick. Only so many hours in a day.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Deformed wings

    DWV is a result of the mites vectoring in the virus through the puncture marks in the bees body from the mites attaching and feeding off the bee.
    However, since DWV has been prevalent for so long in the hives, bee etomologists (sp) have since discovered, the mite is no longer needed to vector DWV into the hives. It has now jumped ship and made it's way into our hives all on it's own when a hive is stressed. Ask me to back it up, and i can not. I am only stating what our provincial scientists have discovered at a bee seminar a few months back.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Deformed wings

    You are correct honeyshack, DWV is not new, it was around before varroa.

    But it was like a common cold. Before varroa, I would very occasionally see a bee with DWV, maybe once every few hundred hives i worked.

    It's just that now, varroa spread it. Lot's of DWV in a hive can be taken as a sign of varroa infestation. Kill the varroa and the DWV will dwindle back to pretty much zero also.

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