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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Red Bluff, CA, USA
    Posts
    97

    Default Declining Hives - first hive loss

    I've got a few problems that I need advice on. First, I've got a hive that has been queenless for a long time. I've tried adding frames of eggs to the hive for several weeks, but so far that hasn't been successful. Yesterday, I inspected the hive and there was drone brood. I didn't see any eggs. So, I think now I either have a laying worker or a poorly mated queen. The population of that hive is rapidly declining and I'd like to combine it with another hive. Can I do a newspaper combine? I've read about dumping the laying worker hive on the ground, but a newspaper combine seems like it would be easier if it would work.

    Second, I lost a hive to chalkbrood. I tried requeening that hive, but lost it anyway. Now, I have 10 drawn frames with stores and I'd like to add them to other hives, but I don't want to infect the other hives and cause more problems. I've read that it can be corrected/cleaned up by bees that are more hygenic. What is the risk in using these frames in other hives? Would you use them or destroy them? Thanks for the advice!

    Bob

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Denton, TX
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Declining Hives - first hive loss

    Chalk Brood



    Cause

    Chalk brood is caused by the fungus Ascosphaera apis



    The Disease

    Spores of the fungus are present on the bees, comb and hive parts. They require climatic changes to be present in the hive before they can develop. A drop in temperature combined with high Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels allow the spores to germinate and it is likely that protein deficiency in the bees allows them to grow.

    After germination the vegetative growths (hyphae) of the fungus invade the larval tissues and kill them after they have been capped.

    The fungus then produces fruiting bodies containing many spores to spread the infection. It is believed that there needs to be 2 strains present before reproduction can occur.

    The dead larvae become chalky white and fluffy and swell to fit the cell. They then shrink and harden to become ‘mummies’



    Chalkbrood – Infected Brood



    Signs in the colony

    Adult bees will tear down the cappings of the dead larvae to reveal the chalky white mummies. These lie along the length of the cell and often take on the hexagonal pattern.

    The bees remove the mummies from the hive and they can often be seen on the hive floor and outside the hive.

    The mummies are usually found scattered throughout the brood nest and can reach high numbers.

    ’Mummies’ on hive floor



    The disease often appears in a peak in the late spring/early summer as the colony expands and the brood outnumber the bees. This is because there are insufficient bees to maintain the temperature and control the ventilation (CO2 build-up).

    Care needs to be taken to differentiate chalk brood from mouldy pollen but this is usually concentrated around the periphery of the brood nest and tends to be a different colour.



    Diagnosis

    This is done by the typical appearance of the larvae



    Spread

    Chalk brood spores are sticky and will attach to the comb and bees as they remove the infected larvae.

    They are also readily transmitted by robbing/drifting bees. The beekeeper can also spread the disease on hive tools and comb transfer.

    The disease is considered to be endemic in Britain but levels of infection will vary from colony to colony. The beekeeper has to aim to keep the infection level down.



    Control

    There are no fungicides available for the larvae and spores on the bees and combs are unreachable.

    Combs can be fumigated with acetic acid but heavily affected comb should be destroyed.

    Viable spores will still be present on the bees and may be present in honey stores.

    In severe cases re-queening from a disease free colony is recommended.

    Because of the temperature/ventilation aspect of the disease it is more likely to occur in small colonies or nuclei. Ensuring that there are sufficient bees will reduce the risk.

    Some strains of bee are more resistant and queens from these should be selected as part of an integrated breeding policy
    9/11/01 NEVER Forget! 343

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Denton, TX
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Declining Hives - first hive loss

    Also, check into this.
    http://www.hgsc.bcm.tmc.edu/projects...iew_Chalkb.pdf

    The decision to risk or not to risk is yours.

    As for the hive full of drones, don't sweat the paper combine, me, I just shake the hive out in front of another hive and walk off with the old hive in my hands. They'll fight for awhile, but will eventually work thinks out.
    9/11/01 NEVER Forget! 343

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Red Bluff, CA, USA
    Posts
    97

    Default Re: Declining Hives - first hive loss

    Thanks, TXFirefighter. The info on chalkbrood was very helpful. Just so I'm clear, if I do a newspaper combine with the laying worker hive with a queenright hive, the queen won't be affected? The laying worker won't fight the queen, right? Thanks again for the advice.

    Bob

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Denton, TX
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Declining Hives - first hive loss

    My response to that would be...
    Are you sure you have a laying worker? Could be, you have a queen who's out of sperm also.

    If...you are positive you have a laying worker..it's real easy to solve....
    Carry the hive approx 100 yards from it's original spot and shake out all the bees on the ground. Your foraging bees will try to return to the old hives location, and find it not there. They will then "drift" over to the queenright hive. Your workers will be lost and die, but you'll solve the drone laying worker problem.

    If you have lots of bees still in the hive you are going to shake out, do the shake out , place the hive back at its original location and introduce a frame or 2 of eggs from a hive and they'll make a new queen for you or reduce the hive to a nuc would be even better and feed them hard. Otherwise, they are lost and you just take the hive with you and let them drift to the other one you have. laying workers arn't able to locate back to the hive because they've never done orientation flights.

    Hope that helps Good luck
    9/11/01 NEVER Forget! 343

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