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Thread: Uncapped Pupa

  1. #1

    Default Uncapped Pupa

    Or I should probably say de-capped pupa. On an quick inspection this past weekend, I pulled a frame and found a bunch of pupa that were exposed. They were almost fully developed into bees, though still white. I pulled one and it was soft. I didn't do any further testing as I wasn't really sure what I was dealing with.

    Photo on my blog post here:

    I would guess that perhaps there were at least 25 or so cells like this. The frame (last pic on the blogpost) otherwise looked normal (I think) with larvae, capped brood, and honey.

    I have since searched and came up with posts from other folks describing similar findings and lots of suggestions as to what could be the cause, but nothing really definitive. I am planning to go back into the hive perhaps on Wednesday to do the matchstick test for AFB. Anything else I should do or look for during that inspection to help diagnose?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA

    Default Re: Uncapped Pupa

    MY opinion is that your bees have varroa sensitive hygenic qualities and they are removing pupa that have had varroa mites reproducing in their cells. The pupa are of the proper age for this activity. Look for a white material deposited on the cell walls, this is mite feces, and do a 72 hour natural mite drop to check for varroa numbers.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Uncapped Pupa

    Thanks, I hope you are correct. I have not completed the mite count yet (not yet 72 hours), I'll pull the boards tomorrow for the counts. But in the meantime, I did pull the frame in question ... most of the cells had been cleaned out. I couldn't see white material on the cell walls. But I also didn't see anything that looked like moths, moth larvae, trails, etc. I did the stick test for AFB on a few cells that were open with pupae, nothing abnormal ... they were just white and liquidy, nothing stringy in the least. I didn't spy mites on any of the bees, but did notice a few on the bottom board.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Shelbyville, TN, USA

    Default Re: Uncapped Pupa

    To my understanding, the name associated with this is Bald Brood or Balding Brood if you want to research it a bit more.

    The occurrence is being studied at Baton Rouge ARS, plus a few more studies are underway. At this point it is thought to be related to VSH behaviors.

    The purple eye pupae stage is interesting and the removal or recapping is what is also being studied.

    I'd take good care of little momma, as I'm betting she is a keeper.
    Zone 7b, Alt 808 ft


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