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Thread: Chalkbrood

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Lebanon, Maine
    Posts
    103

    Default Chalkbrood

    So, I have several questions related to chalkbrood. First some background. Rcvd an over-wintered Nuc in early May. Installed in Deep same day. Within a week, started to see some dried brood on front porch, but thought it might be some old brood they had cleaned out from the 5 other frames I gave them. After another week of continuing to see more dried brood, I finally realized it was chalkbrood. (Had never seen it before). My research said that they will outgrow it and that it is thought to be caused by stress and possibly environmental factors as in moist environs with low circulation. Well, the weather had been like that for a week, and was going to be like that for another week - great!

    So, the dried brood on the doorstep has continued, but finally we have some good weather. Every weekly inspection I had sighted the queen, and she was doin her thing. Big dark queen! I've read that sometimes one needs to replace the queen. So my questions:

    How long do I give them, to out grow this?

    When do I make a decision to pinch the queen, and why would that work if chalkbrood spores are prevalent everywhere, and certainly now in this hive.

    Do I need to be concerned with sharing equipment with other hives, disinfecting hive tool, etc?

    Would making a split, by pulling this queen and put in a nuc, and then adding a new queen to the old hive be a possible solution? Or would I now have two hives with chalkbrood?

    Frustrated and looking for a way to turn this hive around. Lastly, should I notify the Nuc provider?

    Thanks for your thoughts!!!

    Chip
    Chip Harlow

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,792

    Default Re: Chalkbrood

    I have a couple of nucs with chalk. My solution is to put a split banana on the top bars. Sounds crazy but I got this tip from Dave Miksa and tried it last year on another hive. Worked like a charm.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon City, Oregon
    Posts
    988

    Default Re: Chalkbrood

    Quote Originally Posted by camero7 View Post
    My solution is to put a split banana on the top bars. Sounds crazy but I got this tip from Dave Miksa and tried it last year on another hive. Worked like a charm.
    with or without the skin, and very ripe or very green or just right...
    Honeydew

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
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    1,792

    Default Re: Chalkbrood

    without the skin and just right they'll clean it up pretty fast.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Chalkbrood

    Quote Originally Posted by camero7 View Post
    My solution is to put a split banana on the top bars. Sounds crazy but I got this tip from Dave Miksa and tried it last year on another hive. Worked like a charm.
    As the old saying goes "You learn something new every day!"
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Lebanon, Maine
    Posts
    103

    Default Re: Chalkbrood

    Thanks Cam. Read an Australian article that suggested anecdotally, that bananas may work. Also, just ran across some stuff that mentioned potential benefits of HBH or essential oils, as they have some anti-fungal properties. I have just given them some syrup with homemade hbh, and will also try the banana.

    Although, if it works, I'll still not know for sure if it was just time and better (drier and sunnier) weather, or if it was hbh or bananas! But at least it will be gone, and that is the goal. Thanks
    Chip Harlow

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Re: Chalkbrood

    I do not discount the effects of bananas on chalkbrood. No experience with it. Decomposition of plants release some interesting stuff sometimes. Does anyone know what anti fungal materials are potentially being released from the BP? In college, we used to put apple peels in bags of certain leafy material to keep it from molding We did something else with the Banana peels I'm making that up.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,792

    Default Re: Chalkbrood

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick 1456 View Post
    We did something else with the Banana peels I'm making that up.
    No you're not. I'm an old hippie and back in the '60's some thought that smoking banana peels would get you high. Didn't work for me and tasted terrible. Of course, if you can remember the 60's you weren't really there

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Bradenton, Fl, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Chalkbrood

    I have had chalkbrood in years past and seen it in commercial yards but it doesn't usually persist. It can be found in the spring and during damp conditions but isn't seen in hot dry weather. Some queens don't have the genetics to lay resistant brood so usually I would replace the queen with one from another breeder. I have seen piles of chalk brood mummies in front of colonies that despite their losses were strong and productive. If your queen is laying a good pattern I would leave it over the cost and limited success of requeening.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Re: Chalkbrood

    My buddy has a hive that kicks out chalk brood every day. 100 or so as far as we can tell. The hive is strong as it can be. The queens have changed in this hive over the last couple of years. The chalk brood persists. It is a fungus that is exacerbated by moisture. At some point, I believe it gets inherent in the comb. So, yes, I would have concerns about cross contamination. The one hive I have that exhibits this came as a split from my friends hive. Good strong hive, some CB. I finally started removing frames of comb that the CB was evident and replaced it. It is pretty much gone as far as I can tell. You have to access what the root cause is. I would not be too hasty in re queening. Always complications with that. JMO Ventilation, sun exposure, , IMHO, re queening has never fixed the problem for me. I'd rather toss some comb than dump a good queen.

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