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Thread: Signs of ccd?

  1. #1
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    Default Signs of ccd?

    This is a dump of information I hope can help. I have two hives. Both are top bar hives. One is doing phenomenally well. My other hive, kept on a blueberry farm about 20 miles away, not so well. I noticed a gradual decline in population in this hive, nothing sudden like a swarm. Some of the bees, especially the drones are jittery and shake while walking, a behavior that is not consistent with the previous hive or my other hive. There seems to be an over all sense of confusion throughout the hive. Bees wandering aimlessly around the back of the hive as if they're lost. Extremely calm, almost unaware I'm there. 1 bee may shoot out zigzagging as if upset, then flys off. Bees in the roof (sort of like an attic), also wondering aimlessly as if they are looking for the entrance. (never saw this before nor in my other hive) A few bees laying here and there on the bottom of the hive lethargic and barely moving, their tongues sticking out, brown in color. There is tons of clover around the blueberry fields and this hive had lots of pollen stored up and even a couple of areas that has capped honey so starvation shouldn't be the cause. The queen is laying eggs and there is brood. However, if this trend continues I suspect the hive is doomed. It's like slow death.

    I don't know what they could have gotten into, but the blueberry farmers do use a pesticide. I don't know what it is or if they changed it. The year before I had a hive that did very well but didn't survive a freak freezing rain storm and ended up getting robbed by an unknown honeybee hive somewhere nearby towards the tail end of winter and unfortunately starved.

    Also, I also noticed some bees are overall smaller in size, covered in grey hairs. They seem to die first. One other dead bee seemed to have smaller than normal middle legs. I'm not sure if this is a result of some genetic anomalies.

    Any information is appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Signs of ccd?

    If there are eggs and brood, then the queen is healthy. The queen in most cases will stop laying if conditions are not right for raising brood. Bees that are lethargic acting and covered in grey hairs are often newly emerged bees that haven't completely hardened--- they are really the baby bees. Small bees are considered a good thing, too. At least that is the case in a treatment free operations with small size bees better adapted to dealing with mite populations.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Signs of ccd?

    Post pictures of your brood.

    If population has been dwindling it's an indicator that something has bee wrong for a while.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Signs of ccd?

    The small grey bees are few and far between. The ones I see laying around appear to be 100% normal, just laying there. The jittery movement. And some bees wandering around in the rear of the hive seems very strange. There was one bee on the floor of the hive just walking in circles. It would walk for an inch, stop, make a left turn, walk for an inch, stop, make a left turn and kept doing this the entire time I was inspecting the hive.

    I'll try to get some images posted either tonight or tomorrow.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Signs of ccd?

    Mites?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Signs of ccd?

    No mites. Throughly checked each comb for wax moth and shb larva. None.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Signs of ccd?

    We are all shooting a bit in the dark here - but what you describe sounds to me like a sub-lethal pesticide poisoning. Most commercial blueberry growers don't use 1 pesticide but instead a variety of insecticides, fungicides and herbicides (all pesticides.) Sub-lethal just means that the bees didn't get enough of the pesticide to kill them outright.

    As to why the hives were foraging in different places, who knows?

    If the bees in the sick colony were collecting nectar or pollen, then the colony will keep showing symptoms of the poisoning until the nectar/pollen is used up. If the field bees just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and weren't foraging for materials to bring back to the colony, the colony should recover fairly quickly.

    This does not sound like CCD.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Signs of ccd?

    I don't know what it is. It's just very strange. That's why I'm here. If it's not ccd, something I am very grateful for not having, I apologize for posting this here. Here's the images of the front and back of each comb. You'll notice the weird "grays" as I call them. You'll also see a gray drone, which seems to be hanging out, been there for weeks. I recently gave them some honey b-healthy with amino booster. The last hive I had was double this size in comb and population by this time so I am concerned. If you see anything I don't, or have information that you feel is useful, please let me know.

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Signs of ccd?

    Thanks for the pictures. CCD is most often described as a rapid depopulation of a hive leaving the hive incapable of surviving, sometimes leaving a few young bees and perhaps the queen. The weakened hive is not robbed out as if potential robbers and invaders (yellow jackets, wax moths, etc.) instinctively know that there is something wrong in the hive and that they should stay away. My thought is that CCD is often a lazy diagnosis when the underlying causes of the decline are discernible with a bit of investigation.

    In your case there are stores of honey and pollen, and some brood (not all that much). The brood is scattered and irregular in placement. The population looks to be lower than what I would expect to see in a healthy hive.

    The questions are "what's going on?" and "does this colony need intervention from the beekeeper in order to survive and thrive?"

    It looks to me as a combination of an iffy queen with a sub-lethal pesticide poisoning.

    What should you do? The million dollar question!

    I would move the bees away from the blueberry farm, replace the queen, and feed large quantities of syrup and pollen. I don't have much faith in Honey-Bee Healthy for any use other than as a feeding stimulant, but at this point I think you want to encourage the bees to feed on known good resources, so HBH shouldn't hurt.

    This is a case where you have to recognize that beekeeping is a form of agriculture - you can do every thing "right" and still not get the result you were hoping for.

    If the colony recovers, great! If the colony does not recover, I would not use the comb/stores with a new colony.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Signs of ccd?

    How did you test to determine you have no mites? What steps have you taken to control mites on your colonies? CCD is often found in colonies where those questions cannot be readily answered.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bee Clause View Post
    No mites. Throughly checked each comb for wax moth and shb larva. None.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Signs of ccd?

    It looks like EFB or PMS
    You will need to send sample (dead larva) to the lab to be 100%
    Don't send bees for an EFB test (I've seen it done)

    Your brood pattern is very spotty, also spotty open larva of different age intermixed, open cells of many shade of brown shows this has bee going on for a while.

    Blueberry (like almonds) are hard on bees and often have a lot EFB cases.

    Here some pictures for you to compare.

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...Laying-Workers

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...g-on-with-this

    >especially the drones are jittery and shake while walking, a behavior that is not consistent with the previous hive or my other hive. There seems to be an over all sense of confusion throughout the hive.
    Not sure where this falls into place, drones often go from hive to hive, the symptoms might just be because there are fewer bees in that hive so it's easier to take note of one bee. Drone don't forage so there is a lot less chance they would get into pesticides. There is no drone brood in your pictures. The sense you are see might be a sense of hopeless.

    I would treat immediately any delay will make it hard to recover, if you wait on results from the lab it may be too late. There is info in the links for treatments.

    I have helped a lot of people identify and recover from some bad case of EFB, let me know if you have any questions or need any help.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Signs of ccd?

    here's a link to usda for test;
    http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=7472

    Your brood picures look like the picutre on the usda site for EFB
    http://www.ars.usda.gov/Research/docs.htm?docid=7458

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Signs of ccd?

    FlowerPlanter's eyes must be better than mine as I couldn't make out eggs/larvae in the pictures (I looked again and still don't see any). If the larvae pictured are yellow brownish instead of the normal pearly white, I could certainly go along with EFB. EFB is often cleared up with drugs (oxytet.) - it is a bacterial disease and so not surprisingly you use an antibiotic. Often times too queens are replaced once the antibiotic treatment is completed. (And get the hive out of blueberries!)
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Signs of ccd?

    Thanks you all for the replies. I'm currently digesting the information. I can provide closer higher resolution images if that'll help. I gave them the honey b healthy because that was all I had, I use it to help boost a newly introduced bee package then when the first flowers appear I discontinue feeding them. I'm going to look into getting a treatment for efb. If I can provide any thing to confirm efb I will. I will look into the links. Thanks again.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Signs of ccd?

    Couldn't see any eggs but did see what appears to be larvae - it doesn't appear to be the pearly white one should be seeing. Don't know if that's the camera or the brood. Certainly not CCD but might be EFB.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Signs of ccd?

    Upon closer examination of the images I realized I'm going to have to take new ones. Trying to determine color variance for EFB is difficult with the light source shining through the comb. I'll take some more soon. Here is a few enhanced images since the transferred ones lost a LOT of resolution. I also noticed 4 queen cells. Perhaps the colony has already decided to replace her...

    bee01.jpg

    bee02.jpg

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Signs of ccd?

    chalkbrood

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Signs of ccd?

    >chalkbrood?
    where, I don't see any.

    Picture 2 top left, appears to be a larva slumped in it's cell, it could just be the picture.
    If it's EFB you may have one or two dead larva per frame, these can be stretched, slumped, discolored yellow,brown or gray, of different ages before they are capped. often the bees clean it up quickly. If you find any that's what you want to send to the lab.

    If you know which pictures are of which frames look at the pictures with open larva and compare them to new pictures, to see if that larva ever got capped or if it was removed before.

    >I gave them the honey b healthy because that was all I had
    EOs will make EFB (and other diseases) worse.

    >I also noticed 4 queen cells.
    With larva in them? They realize there is a problem too.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Signs of ccd?

    Sorry for not getting back sooner, the hive at my other house was attacked by ants. They lost half their population and 2/3 of their brood, all of their stores and they nearly starved. Luckily the queen didn't get killed. It took me a while but I was able to get rid of the ants and nurse the hive back to health. They have bounced back phenomenally well. Unfortunately the other hive is still not dong well, very low population, poor brood pattern and weird behavior. Since it's clear this is not CCD, I'd like to ask a moderator to move this to an appropriate forum.

    I inspected the hive today and this time I put my camera on fill flash. I suspect the discoloration in this cell is EFB as you have suspected. Can I please get a confirmation? (I'm trying a url attachment, hope it works)

    11224297_10207589099594200_5079080187710980028_o.jpg

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Signs of ccd?

    I'm going to get some Oxytetracycline HCL soluble powder (OTC) to begin treatment.

    This is what's available to me locally. Will this work? If so should I dust the hive and mix with sugar syrup? Or will a spritz bottle with a water/OTC solution work?
    http://www.tractorsupply.com/en/stor...in-10-6-2-5-oz

    Thanks again for your help.

    Edit: Some quick research found this: Dusting of uncapped brood cells has been reported to cause death of larval honey bees. Do not dust uncapped brood cells.

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