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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Catlettsburg, KY, USA
    Posts
    104

    Default Deformed Wing Virus

    I have seen bees outside my hives that have DWV. It's raining today so I was able to get a close look at the front of the hive and saw probably 10 bees walking in front of it with obvious DWV. I have seen bees with it before and have treated about 3 times with powdered sugar. In all of my hive inspections I have not seen a bee on any of the frames inside the hive with deformed wings, but I have seen a few mites, which is why I did the powdered sugar dumps.

    My question is do I need to be worried about a few bees with DWV or is it normal?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: Deformed Wing Virus

    How do you tell the difference between old bees with frayed wings and DWV?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,613

    Default Re: Deformed Wing Virus

    DWV is different than frayed wings. With DWV the whole wing is shrivled looking instead of just being frayed on the ends.
    Yes, you should be worried. You need to do some kind of mite count to find out just how many mites are in the hive. Do a sticky board count, ether roll, or a sugar shake to get a mite count.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Posts
    707

    Default Re: Deformed Wing Virus

    DWV is not normal, so it's something you need to address. You do not mention any mite numbers, so I assume you do not monitor via counts for them. Do you have screen bottom boards? Start counting mites. 24 hour drop w/ no treatment, then a 24 and 48 hour drop w/ a powdered sugar treatment. Dusting 3 times w/ PS will not provide enough of a drop to get control. Dust a least once a week for 6 to 8 weeks, and keep count.
    If this were my hive, I'd pull the queen with a frame of bees in a nuc, and put in mite away quick strips.

    cpm, old bees look old, (no cute fuzzy hair on their thorax), often a bit darker in color, and may have frayed wings. DWV will cause the wings to spread away from the body or just the lack of wings that look like wings and more like crumpled paper.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    96

    Default Re: Deformed Wing Virus

    I second checking your mite load. A quick way to tell is to pull a purple eyed drone larva from its capped cell, and count the number of mites that you find. Do this to 5 or 10 drones. If you average 2 or more mites per drone then you need to treat.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Catlettsburg, KY, USA
    Posts
    104

    Default Re: Deformed Wing Virus

    I just took these photos so you can see what it looks like





    I only have 2 hives. One has a SBB and the other doesn't. What do I use for the sticky board? I have been considering MAQ's but I can't find a place that sells less than enough to treat 10 hives and I only have 2.

    Other than the bees with DWV the hive seems very healthy and is full of bees.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Catlettsburg, KY, USA
    Posts
    104

    Default Re: Deformed Wing Virus

    So I just inspected my hive without the SBB so I could pull some drone cells. I wasn't sure what you meant by "purple headed" but once I pulled them I figured it out. Unfortunately I pulled 7 and 6 had mites on them.



    As soon as I pulled one of the drones out a mite crawled out and hitched a ride on this workers back



    And I found a few bees on frames that had deformed wings. Here is a better shot..



    This hive was a split that I made from my only other hive on April 4th and let them raise their own queen.

    So from all I've read Mite Away Quick strips seem to be the treatment I am going to try. I went ahead and put a sticky board under my main hive which consists of 2 deeps and a short honey super on top. The super is almost full and capped so I guess I will be alright waiting until I extract before I treat that one?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Hampton CT
    Posts
    360

    Default Re: Deformed Wing Virus

    After treating this hive with MAQS, I would put on a pollen substitute and syrup to stimulate the queen to lay a lot of brood. They will need it to recover if indeed it is not too late allready. I would also reccomend that you treat your other hive. If one has that bad a varroa problem, you can bet the other is not far behind. The good news is that if you can burn the mites and then get the queen laying (hence the pollen sub) you may be able to save the hive. It is a long time till winter. Good luck

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,817

    Default Re: Deformed Wing Virus

    Take this for what it is worth, in my experience the presence of DWV does not mean the hive is doomed. I have had bees crawling around in the grass with DWV every year for the last four years, but you would never know anything is wrong with any of my hives. They are all strong extremely productive hives and overwinter just fine. I don't treat with anything including powdered sugar and do no mite checks whatsoever. If you see evidence of DWV in otherwise perfectly normal hives I think that pouring the chemicals to them is simply ridiculous.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Catlettsburg, KY, USA
    Posts
    104

    Default Re: Deformed Wing Virus

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    Take this for what it is worth, in my experience the presence of DWV does not mean the hive is doomed. I have had bees crawling around in the grass with DWV every year for the last four years, but you would never know anything is wrong with any of my hives. They are all strong extremely productive hives and overwinter just fine. I don't treat with anything including powdered sugar and do no mite checks whatsoever. If you see evidence of DWV in otherwise perfectly normal hives I think that pouring the chemicals to them is simply ridiculous.
    I was kind of wondering about this. The hive seems very healthy other than the deformed winged bees. I'm still not 100% sure on what to do but it seems the consensus is to treat. The thing that worries me the most is almost every drone cell I opened had a mite in it and I don't think they will get any better with summer right around the corner.

    The split that I made seems healthy and they have filled out almost all of the brood box with comb and it is full of honey, pollen and brood. The other hive is full of the same and almost has a full super of honey.

    Decisions, decisions

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,682

    Default Re: Deformed Wing Virus

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    Take this for what it is worth, in my experience the presence of DWV does not mean the hive is doomed. I have had bees crawling around in the grass with DWV every year for the last four years, but you would never know anything is wrong with any of my hives. They are all strong extremely productive hives and overwinter just fine. I don't treat with anything including powdered sugar and do no mite checks whatsoever. If you see evidence of DWV in otherwise perfectly normal hives I think that pouring the chemicals to them is simply ridiculous.
    Maybe doing nothing works for you but not everyone will be that lucky. Personally I would opt to treat if I see virus pressure. Ignoring it will never make it better unless the cycle can be broken. Maybe your bees have some resistance or are able to overcome the mites but what if Ky Mike's bees are more susceptible or the mite pressure continues to increase? Harbouring the virus in your colonies is not good in the long run either as you risk mutation and increased virulence and you're possibly vectoring it to other bees.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,817

    Default Re: Deformed Wing Virus

    JRG13, when I got back into bees four years ago I bought southern Italian packages, nothing special. Yes, I think my bees have some resistance, but how do you think they got it? I have never requeened with resistant stock, any queens that were raised by the bees just open mated with whatever is in the area, that's it. I faced mite pressure four years ago and every year thereafter, and did nothing, and here I am today without any mite related losses, so how does anyone know that Ky Mike's bees are doomed without immediate treatments? You don't, and I think that continuing to recommend chemical treatments to people who's bees have certain mite levels or visible DWV is not the way to go if we want to have resistant bees at some point in the future. It's like treating your whole 3 acre lawn at the sight of one dandelion blossom, like I said before, its ridiculous, and in my opinion irresponsible. John

  13. #13

    Default Re: Deformed Wing Virus

    You need to treat. Viruses are caused from stressers and in this case it is mites. Keep the mites under control and the stress is reduced. The levels are at a threshold that if you do nothing your hive will fail. I am all for resistant stock and raise some myself but in this case at this time from what he has shown us the prudent thing would be to use something. maqs comes to mind.

    JMGI will you pay for new bees if he follows your advice?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,379

    Default Re: Deformed Wing Virus

    I have not used any treatments except powder sugar dumps and removing a frame of drone brood from each hive. I dont plan on eradicating Varroa, although it would be nice of course, but if I can keep their numbers in check and the hive is able to survive and produce bees/honey, im good with that. If I happen to lose a hive to Varroa, i'll replace it with a swarm catch or a split, but I dont intend on treating my hives at all, and its a risk im willing to take I suppose.

    To each there own.
    Coyote Creek Bees

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Catlettsburg, KY, USA
    Posts
    104

    Default Re: Deformed Wing Virus

    First of all I appreciate everyone's input. I knew before posting my problem that there would be differing opinions of what to do. I'm in my 2nd year of beekeeping and have enjoyed the whole experience (minus a few stings )

    I just pulled my sticky board and counted 47 mites on the board. The board was actually only on 20 hrs. The hive was untreated when I put the board under it and I obviously didn't make the board sticky enough (1st time sticky boarder) because I observed ants carrying away some of the mites when I pulled it and mites crawling around on the board so it's hard to say how many were eaten/crawled away. I read to use spray cooking oil on the board and I only had spray olive oil because my wife is on a health kick . Next time I will use vaseline....regardless, 47 seems like a high number to me. I'll clean the sticky board dump some powdered sugar on them and get another count tonight with a stickier sticky board. I don't think I'll be surprised by a large mite count doing this so I am coming up with a plan of action.

    Right now it's obvious that the SBB's are having at least somewhat of an impact on getting rid of mites, so I will be building another SBB for my other hive. I think I will initially treat with either MAQ's or Hopguard and after reading a lot of Michael Bush's information I'm going to start introducing foundationless frames to my hives as a long term preventative. I wish I would have read about the foundationless frames before I got started in beekeeping.

    I'll keep this thread updated as I go and again I appreciate everyone's input.

    Also if anyone knows of a MAQ distributor that sells less than a 10 hive box of the strips let me know.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Re: Deformed Wing Virus

    I'm in Jmgi s' court.
    People are going to keep bees they way they want and what works for them. Beeks set their own goals and determine what "success" is. For some, it is survival of the hive at all costs. Others, it is above average honey crop.
    For me, I like going up stream in a leaky boat and no paddles. The learning curve is steep, frustrations abound, but the rewards, for me, are far superior than some means others use. I learn a lot real fast. Like Jimgi, I have not had any losses due to mites, in four years. No treatments or manipulations to purposely break mites.( break in brood cycle ect.) Is it luck? Maybe in the sense I catch swarms and lucked into some resistant stock. Most species in nature respond in some way to pressure be it positive or negative. Treating alleviates that pressure. You will never know.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,380

    Default Re: Deformed Wing Virus

    Mike,

    Make you're choice based on what you are comfortable with.

    If you decide to treat then you can be fairly sure of the outcome. Treating does have it's negative side effects and takes a toll on the bees, but it knocks down the mites and gives the bees a fighting chance.

    Not treating, it's a 50/50 shot you will be successful. If we could all have success with a hands off approach then it would be a no brainer. Some people try the no treatment route and experience total losses. It's not a very good feeling to watch mites completely wipe out your colonies and leave you empty handed. Ask me how I know. On the other hand some people, in some areas, are very successful without treatment. You may be one of the lucky ones as well. There is only one way to find out. Just be prepared for either outcome if you decide to let nature take it's course.
    To everything there is a season....

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,823

    Default Re: Deformed Wing Virus

    People who don't monitor their mite levels and and develope a plan to deal with them are called Bee Supply Customers! Now if you have bought and can maintian vsh hives, that changes things some. It may be all you need til your vsh queen is superceded and her sucessor does not pass on the trait. Most need to do something, be it brood breaks, drone sacrifice, Essential Oils or some other chemical. Like Mr. Gilmore said, don't be a spectator.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Re: Deformed Wing Virus

    Maybe a reality check is in order here. If one does not have good strong stock, that is healthy, then the odds IMHO, are most likely dismal. I don't like comparing bugs to humans, but I'll digress. If you had pneumonia, the flu, or any ill health, and decided to fumigate your home for roaches, would you stay in your home ? If you did , would you be less healthy in the aftermath?
    Allowing a hive to push the mite limit with some reasonable expectation of recovery, is not a walk a way, come back later and expect a miracle. Think about what circumstances would be in place, and have to happen in a "wild" unattended bee colony. (no they do not have to be in a tree
    I'm not an expert. I'm offering my HO, what I've researched, and I have a hive that went through this, survived, and is booming as we speak.
    Best to you in what ever you decide.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,682

    Default Re: Deformed Wing Virus

    JMGI,

    I respect your opinion on the matter. But first off I didn't recommend any chemical treatments, I just said he should treat. Plenty of organic options available (vaporized mineral oil, powdered sugar, brood break...ect.) I would just rather see some attempt to try to clean up the mites and break the cycle. Maybe he gets mites again but maybe he doesn't get any DWV, I would say that's a real improvement. Just from experience though, as I said, having a resevoir of virus in you hives is not good for the long run. You're just askiing for it to become a breaking strain against any resistances you have. Rick you have a great point as well as far as personal goals ect... Good luck with your hive(s) Mike, keep us updated.

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