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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Livermore, CA
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    Default Pictures of my DBV hive (death by Varroa)

    So I checked my city hives on Tuesday and found one hive with no activity at all, after popping the top, the once busting at the seams hive that produced 60 of honey for me this summer was fully gone. This is my first complete loss of a hive, and it was by Varroa. There were a handfull of dead bees on the SBB and none outside the hive.

    This hive was completely treatment free. It swarmed in early spring and still built up solid numbers to produce a good honey crop. Infact, I also caught the swarm and that hive is still alive but in a different location in the country. This hive was in full shade throughout the summer. It had a ton of stores for winter as well, which I will stick into other hives that may need it.

    Heres the pictures:
    Varroa poop in the cells (white specs)...........and lots of it throughout the brood chamber.


    Capped brood left behind as well as an emerging bee with tongue sticking out. There were about 6 frames atleast with scattered capped brood and some emerging brood with tongues sticking out.


    And one of the frames capped and ready for winter stores.
    Coyote Creek Bees

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
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    3,507

    Default Re: Pictures of my DBV hive (death by Varroa)

    Whats with all the perforated caps on brood? Did you put a toothpick in any of them and swirl it to see if it would rope out?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Livermore, CA
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    Default Re: Pictures of my DBV hive (death by Varroa)

    Not yet, gonna do that right now, but I dont think it is AFB. Will let you know.
    Coyote Creek Bees

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Livermore, CA
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    Default Re: Pictures of my DBV hive (death by Varroa)

    Ok, just did the toothpick deal to see if any roping would occur. I puctured and swirled probably about 50 cells (now that I am freaked out about AFB) and did have ONE i think rope out? I have never experienced AFB, so I really have no idea what to look for? I would puncture the cells and "swirl" the toothpick around and on some of them it was more of a clear goopy substance............but that ONE came out about 1/8" from the cell as a brown mess on the tooth pick.

    I started uncapping cells in more developed larva and pulling them out and all of them either didnt have wings or were seriously deformed. I also had a varroa mite come out on the toothpick, but it was dead as it was black.

    If it is AFB, please chime in or share pictures ASAP so I can burn this hive and everything in it this weekend!!!! Thanks!!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Bunker Hill, IL
    Posts
    452

    Default Re: Pictures of my DBV hive (death by Varroa)

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeGhost View Post
    If it is AFB, please chime in or share pictures ASAP so I can burn this hive and everything in it this weekend!!!! Thanks!!
    spend some time on youtube. good videos showing AFB. those vids can do more to explain what it is and what it should look like than we can.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    lee county, fl, usa
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    735

    Default Re: Pictures of my DBV hive (death by Varroa)

    Did you notice a bad odor? I wondered too when I saw the perforated cells about afb.
    "Rule Three of beekeeping...Never cease to feel wonder" Laurie R. King--
    March 2010; +/- 30 hives, TF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,424

    Default 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).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
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    2,277

    Default Re: Pictures of my DBV hive (death by Varroa)

    My guess is that this is not AFB, but instead the last ditch hygienic behavior due to heavy varroa infestation. In the first pic, its hard to see, but sure seems like, you can see partially removed pupa, which would likely not be the case in AFB.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
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    1,077

    Default Re: Pictures of my DBV hive (death by Varroa)

    The picture is a classic one of a Dead out frame from a hive that took a dump as a result of a very high varroa load. The pinhole condition exists in almost every hive that crashes from varroa. Another brood death sign related to viruses is the bee emerging in the middle of the second picture with its probiscus hanging out. ( Zoom in with cntrl + to see it)

    Seeing such an emerging bee is a very good clue this hive was under high viral loads associated with high mite loads. If I was to bet I think this hive never had its mite load monitored in August and surely was not treated by the first week of September with a method that actually kills mites.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Panola County, TX USA
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: Pictures of my DBV hive (death by Varroa)

    AFB and Varroa have very very similar looking symptoms.
    I believe what you have in these pictures is a hive lost to varroa. well and probably contaminated pollen.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    608

    Default Re: Pictures of my DBV hive (death by Varroa)

    Once you have actually had to deal with AFB detection and have seen it consistently you would never mistake it for symptoms of varroa. The comparison between the visible signs of the two are in no way similar. But most inexperienced beekeepers could never detect AFB in the first place so its understandable.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Panola County, TX USA
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    125

    Default Re: Pictures of my DBV hive (death by Varroa)

    funny because the MN bee inspector was not sure with out the test of the larvae

  13. #13
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    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Pictures of my DBV hive (death by Varroa)

    Well he was wise to do it. I'm an inspector also and when I find a hive like this I'll often do a ropiness test on some of the more suspect looking cells, it's just good practise to ensure you don't miss anything. But Riskybizz was pretty much on the money.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
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    608

    Default Re: Pictures of my DBV hive (death by Varroa)

    I'm all for testing for sure, just wanted to comment on the visual detection of afb vs. varroa symptoms. I'd much rather find signs of varroa than AFB.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Livermore, CA
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    Default Re: Pictures of my DBV hive (death by Varroa)

    Thanks for your input everyone!! Honey-4-all, you are correct, I didnt monitor the mite loads in this hive at all. Although it sounds bad, I wanted to experience a dead out by Varroa, and if this hive absconded because of Varroa, I have accomplished my mission. I wanted to see first hand what Varroa could do to a hive, and now that I have seen the results, I can identify how devistating that little mite can be and will be doing a Varroa control program next year. If it is infact AFB, then I will also learn from it and what to observe and look for. It is all a learning experience for plans for the future.

    I also took these pictures tonight after opening every cell from the brood frames, all the older brood had DWV and a lot of them had dead mites in the cells, they all also had their tongue sticking out. Also, do the things on the left of the picture look like scales? They kinda looked like they had the pattern of a bees abdomen as far as overlapping scales go.
    Coyote Creek Bees

  16. #16
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    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Pictures of my DBV hive (death by Varroa)

    with afb, the developing bees would have never made it that far. the gooey ones might have been that way from a viral infection. all of the mite feces, and the damaged pupae make it likely the primary cause was mites. jmho
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
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    5,119

    Default Re: Pictures of my DBV hive (death by Varroa)

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeGhost View Post
    Also, do the things on the left of the picture look like scales? They kinda looked like they had the pattern of a bees abdomen as far as overlapping scales go.
    You can't pull AFB scales from a comb without destroying the comb.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
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    Default Re: Pictures of my DBV hive (death by Varroa)

    Thanks again everyone for your diagnosis of my situation, I fully appreciate it!
    I'm glad I found this site a few years ago, it's been extremely helpful and full of great people!
    Coyote Creek Bees

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