Re: Pictures of my DBV hive (death by Varroa)
Pretty sure (virtually certain) that's not AFB. AFB cells are slightly darker than the surrounding cells and have a kinda greasy look, also they tend to be concave, whereas those cells are convex.
You're right to be concerned though, a spotty PMS comb like that can mask an occasional AFB cell, or at least make it harder to spot. But re the ropiness test, AFB forms a total sticky gob, whereas your own brood that seemed to rope, likely had a bit of skin or whatever in the mix that made an inconsistency in the texture of the cell contents, if that happens it's not AFB, unless you caught it super early for that larva. But you wouldn't have caught it super early in a deadout like that.
44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).