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  1. #1
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    Default How to diagnose for ailments that affect bees (early stages)

    As I was contemplating ordering some medicine to take care of those evil, nasty, sons of Bin Laddin SHB; it occurred to me that I do not test for ailments as a form of prevention to sicknesses that affect the hives. It seems that we treat the problem when it is already taken over our hives. I do know that there are people out there, treating often with the “shotgun method”, hoping to “hit” wherever is there. Others choose not to shoot, and ask later why the ladies may be hurting.
    Can you share your preventive testing methods?

  2. #2
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: How to diagnose for ailments that affect bees (early stages)

    Micha, if I may. I would suggest that a through understanding of the Pests and Diseases of Honeybees is a good place to start. There is such a book available which I think every beekeeper should have on their book shelf, as a reference. Maybe at their bedside as a sleep aid. Chuckle, chuckle.

    Knowledge is our best weapon against the diseases and pests that effect our bees.

    Keeping healthy bees is a good preventitive method. I do not treat propholactycally (sp?) for diseases and pests. I don't dust for AFB, I burn what I identify as AFB. I do take measures to knock down mite loads, in reaction to their presence. I have never treated for Nosema, perhaps to my detriment. But, unless one treats for Nosema because it might be there, operative words being "might be", how does one know except after finding it.

    So, I guess what I am saying is, that my advice on how to handle potential pests and diseases of honeybes, is that one learn all one can absorb, keep healthy hives by managing the problems one comes across (treatments/medications/control methods/integrated pest management are all managment tools), react to what one finds, not what may come down the pike and then you will be alright.

    That's how I see it. Any advice you may take from the above is worth what you paid for it.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Seneca, sc
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    830

    Default Re: How to diagnose for ailments that affect bees (early stages)

    I think some people treat their hives to death. I don't treat for anything and I have less than 10% loses this year. I have had some years in the past that have had 50% loses. If you are willing to take the loses you can end up with bees that can survive. It is up to the individual to make the choice. If a person keeps buying queens from suppliers that treat with chemicals, you will have to continue to treat your bees. If you raise queens from your untreated survivor queens over time you will not have to treat. I don't believe in propping bees up, only the strong survive. As you raise your own survivor queens each generation will get stronger and stronger and can be selected for the traits that are important to you ie..early buildup, honey production,wintering cluster size, to name a few. Just my 2 cents.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Stuart, VA, USA
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    1

    Default Re: How to diagnose for ailments that affect bees (early stages)

    SQKCRK, what is the book on Pests and Diseases of Honeybees to which you refer?

    Thanks,

    Pat

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
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    Default Re: How to diagnose for ailments that affect bees (early stages)

    I treat for nosema, prefer in the spring but sometimes in the fall. I treat because i see signs of dysentary. I have had my bees tested and i know nosema is there. Some years the tests get done before treating and by the time i get my results, the treatment is done...and i am glad i treated. Other years the testing is done post treatment and i see that the treatment worked because the counts are down, below threshold.
    Not always are signs of nosema seen in every hive, but a hive or two in each yard seems to show symptoms in the spring.

    I treat for mites. I know they are there. I know the damage they cause. I have felt the economic damage mites can leave in their wake. Having said that, i do not treat blindly. I test my yards regularly so i know what levels the mites are at and if the treatments i use acutally worked.

    As for viruses, viruses come when bees are weak. Not much can be done except to alieviate the problem which caused the virus outbreak. Reduce mite pressure, get the nosema under control. I have seen some hives bounce back after a virus outbreak, but i have also seen hives succume to the viruses.

    As for AFB, I monitor for it, but i also terimyacin in the spring mixed with icing sugar and place on the bars of the frames. If the summer has been a stressful one to the bees, I will treat again in the fall to prevent outbreaks. I will admit that i have never seen an AFB outbreak or an AFB frame. But i know my time is coming!

    As for SHB, that is not a problem we have to deal with...yet...

    The key for any treatment to work, is following directions...more drug is rarely better, can actually be worse, and i follow withdrawal times. One of the key things in treating in the spring is not over feeding the syrup to the point the brood nest gets plugged. This limits the effectiveness of treatments and can possilbly lead to contamination of honey when pulling frames. In the spring, bees take in honey as they need it, rarely store it. Basically they eat it faster that you can provide it because they are increasing hive numbers at this time. Get the treating done during this time. WAtch when your flows are, and stop recommeded treatments. For example, if you get a flow in May, your nosema treatment should be removed minimum 30days to the start of the flow. Terimyacin the same idea. Follow directions and observe withdrawal times!!!!

    Finally, I find nutrition to play an essential part of keeping diseases down. Good quality pollen...supplement if need be, and ensure the hive has enough syrup or honey to produce bees and winter well.
    Syrup/honey is like our carbohydrates to us...provides simple clean energy. Pollen is the protien along with the vitamins and minerals needed to give the hive the tools to be strong and healthy. Helps in brood rearing, and overal hive health.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How to diagnose for ailments that affect bees (early stages)

    duplicate post
    Last edited by honeyshack; 03-09-2011 at 10:40 AM. Reason: double post

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Quapaw OK USA
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    262

    Default Re: How to diagnose for ailments that affect bees (early stages)

    I have not used any chemicals in my hives fot 2 years and have very few mites. I mix CRISCO and Sugar 50 % 50% each and make a patty and put it on top of the frames.The mites can't stay on the bees back so fall to the bottom.Might not work for you but it does for me

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: How to diagnose for ailments that affect bees (early stages)

    Quote Originally Posted by EPC View Post
    SQKCRK, what is the book on Pests and Diseases of Honeybees to which you refer?
    "Honey Bee Pests, Predators, & Diseases". The Edition I have is The Third Edition, edited by the late Dr. Roger A Morse and Bee Culture Editor Kim Flottum. 1997. Maybe there is an updated version out there that would be more current. But the basics are all there.

    Published by A.I. Root Company, Medina, OH.
    Available there too, I imagine.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  9. #9
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    Dec 2008
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    syracuse n.y.
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    Default Re: How to diagnose for ailments that affect bees (early stages)

    exactly what honeyshack says, if you are going to treat print out that post and follow it.
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

  10. #10
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: How to diagnose for ailments that affect bees (early stages)

    I may have been somewhat vaige about mite treatment. I figure they are always there, because they have been since 1998 or there a bouts, so I have stopped doing mite sampling. I do see them on bees from time to time. I treat annually, er biannually(?). Twice a year. I may be splitting hairs, but I don't consider that propholactic. Tho I can imagine someone could.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Anthony, New Mexico USA
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    421

    Default Re: How to diagnose for ailments that affect bees (early stages)

    How many of you diagnose Nosema like Randy Oliver teaches on his site? what method works best for you?

  12. #12
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: How to diagnose for ailments that affect bees (early stages)

    This is wherre I, perhaps, fail as a beekeeper. The only info on nosema in my bees comes from NY Apiary Inspectors taking samples and Beltsville Bee Lab doing the diagnosis. We may not have hardly any Apiary Inspection this 2011, so I don't know if I will have any data or not.

    Maybe I should, but I don't go looking for them. 2009-2.5million spores per bee from two composite samples in two yards. One yd "no disease found", the other yard "2.5 million spores per bee". 2010- "no disease found" from two composite samples from two yards.

    "Nosema cerana present" in sample taken for USDA survey to establish the absence or presence of t. Clarea (or however you spell that). No indication of spores per bee.

    I don't know what to think. What is to be derived from these sets of data?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  13. #13
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    Jan 2008
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    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
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    Default Re: How to diagnose for ailments that affect bees (early stages)

    When the inspector comes out...some times every year or every other year, and if there is a problem, call up and they will come right away....i get them tested. Otherwise, i watch for symptoms. Some symptoms are clear and easy to see, like poop on the hives or in the hives. Not all the time does this mean nosema but it is a darn good indicator. Some symptoms which are not so easy to see....slow growth of the hive, lack of foraging, and if you have feed on the hives, lack of taking in feed during a dearth.
    As we become more experienced in beekeeping, we just know when there is a problem...something is off. Nothing replaces testing, but we can learn the signs.

    I would like to get a microscope...in the future when funds allow.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: How to diagnose for ailments that affect bees (early stages)

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    ... 2009-2.5million spores per bee from two composite samples in two yards. One yd "no disease found", the other yard "2.5 million spores per bee". 2010- "no disease found" from two composite samples from two yards.

    "Nosema cerana present" in sample taken for USDA survey to establish the absence or presence of t. Clarea (or however you spell that). No indication of spores per bee.
    on the first part, high nosema counts....problem. Where there was no nosema found, i would ask myself two questions
    1. did the sample come from the brood or foragers. IF the foragers were out that day, the sample would come back neg since foragers should be where the sample comes from.
    2. do the hives appear healthy?

    On to the second part about noseam cerana present...you know you have it, watch for symptoms and treat accordingly! That is all i can thing of sorry

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