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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Chesapeake, VA
    Posts
    36

    Default Shriveled wing seen in one bee

    Hello all,

    I have posted before but have not replied much as life got busy and weird for awhile. Here is my situation and thanks in advance to all who may reply.

    I live in Southeast Virginia zone 8a and we had a mild winter. Two snows that melted the next day, only 10-15 days with lows in the 30's and most days between 40-55 with some being as high as 65-70. I have seen the bees bringing in bright yellow pollen, pale yellow pollen, red pollen, and our rock maple put buds out on Valentine's Day. Today the high is 50 and sunny and the bees are flying. I checked on them and both hives feel light and as I was watching the entrance I saw one bee with shriveled wings.

    I have two hives. One is in a deep and two mediums and the other is a nuc in a deep and one medium. I started keeping before reading Michael Bush's book and will be switching to all mediums and setting up the hives as he suggests this season. When I do that I'll start a separate thread for advice My family and I are moving to SW Virginia as soon as our house sells here so the bees will be going with us and I want them strong for the ride.

    Question 1. The hives are light but they are bringing in pollen and eating some dry sugar I placed on newspaper on top of the frames. Do I need to make candy to get them through the next couple of weeks. We have dandelions blooming now.

    Question 2. How worried should I be about the shriveled wings I saw? I keep the bees foundationless, with the exception of the regular deep which has plastic foundation from the friend who gave me the bees, and they draw straight comb. I don't want to start down the road of chemical intervention. The bees did fine all summer without foundation and the nuc exploded, raised their own queen and she layed a very nice brood pattern, and drew straight comb on the foundationless frames.

    Question 3. When should I plan on moving the nuc to a 10 frame medium hive? Right before a flow? Does anyone know the *usual* spring flow for zone 8a?

    We are going to be rainy for the next three days.

    Thank you very much for your help.
    Brent Strange

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,747

    Default Re: Shriveled wing seen in one bee

    One bee with shriveled wings doesn't mean anything. A lot would be another story. DWV was around long before Varroa. It just didn't spread much until then. Right when things are really warming up and the bees are flying, I would pull a box worth of empty deep frames out and put a box of mediums on.

    If the dandelions are blooming they have something coming in. I wouldn't worry too much unless you get a week straight of them not being able to fly for the rain or cold.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,146

    Default Re: Shriveled wing seen in one bee

    1. A few dandelions, many dandelions? There are a few variables but the best guide is what is happening inside the hive. next time you look see if they have more, or less, nectar and honey than they did last time you looked.

    2. How many bees with shrivelled wings? If it was many, accompanied by dead larvae in a few of the cells, I'd be very worried.

    3. You move the nuc once they need the room, or just before that time. You go purely by how the bees are doing, rather than any particular time frame. Are you putting it into a foundationless box?
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,747

    Default Re: Shriveled wing seen in one bee

    >2. How many bees with shrivelled wings? If it was many, accompanied by dead larvae in a few of the cells, I'd be very worried.

    BrentStrange said (in the topic heading):
    "Shriveled wing seen in one bee"
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,146

    Default Re: Shriveled wing seen in one bee

    And in his post he said "as I was watching the entrance I saw one bee with shriveled wings".

    If I'd been fuller with my question, I would have said asked about numbers and brood condition if he opened the hive and had a look.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Chesapeake, VA
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Shriveled wing seen in one bee

    Hi Oldtimer,

    No I did not open the hive since it was breezy and in the mid-40's. I thought that was too cold to go through the frames. When I put the dry sugar on them I did not see any shriveled wings on the few bees I saw. Thanks for the help!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Chesapeake, VA
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Shriveled wing seen in one bee

    Hi Michael,

    Thank you for the advice! I appreciate it. I didn't open the hive much as I thought it was kinda cold to do so. I may have a chance later next week depending on the weather.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,146

    Default Re: Shriveled wing seen in one bee

    OK well to give you a better explanation, the bee at the entrance showing deformed wing virus (DWV) might have been the only one in the hive. More likely though, there will be more. As these bees don't live too long, just a few of them would be a concern. The other thing to look for is at the capped brood. If there are serious varroa numbers they will be killing some of the larva, which is known as parasitic mite syndrome ( PMS ). You have to be observant, but what you do is look at a capped comb of brood, shake most of the bees off if need be to get a good look. If mites are killing larvae you will see the odd cell with a dead browny blackish colored larva in it. You will also see the occasional capped cell, which instead of the normal dome shaped cap, the cap is partly removed as the bees are beginning to remove the dead larva. If there is a cap with a hole in it and the larva inside is white, all is normal the bees just haven't finished buiulding the cap. But if it's a different color it is not normal for the cell to be uncapped.

    BTW there are other (but rare) diseases that kill brood, but the dead brood looks a bit different, to discover more you could start by googling the serious one, AFB. But these diseases are rare, and mites are common, so if there's an occasional dead larva among the brood, the first thing to suspect is mites.

    When a hive has light numbers of varroa mites they normally go one mother mite to a worker cell (more in drone cells), and the bee survives. It is mainly when varroa numbers get dangerously high that they start going several mother mites to a worker cell, and this is when they start killing the brood, and the hive could quickly be in trouble.

    There are other ways to test for mites, but I'll leave that for others to describe, for me, I just go by the symptoms.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

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