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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Huntington ,VT, USA
    Posts
    256

    Default rope test valid on older winter deadout?

    I was dismantling a deadout from the winter.
    tiny cluster, lots of stores, mediocre summer performance....no treatment....likely varoa/virus

    the dead cluster was sitting on a few silver dollar sized patches of capped brood.
    the cappings were all perforated heavily.. no noticeable scales. I suppose the brood could have been emerging...but all at once seems unlikely

    Kids called me away before I got further. inteneded to do a "rope" test and can tomorrow.

    will such a test provide any useful info given that these larva have been dead some time (months likely) and seen multiple freeze thaw cycles over that time?

    Will capped brood exposed to these conditions perforate anyway from decomp and freeze expansion?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,852

    Default Re: rope test valid on older winter deadout?

    Yes any dead brood in those circumstances is likely to be perforated. If they are whole dead bee larvae inside, it was not AFB. If there is any goopy stuff you can do a ropiness test, but they may also have turned to scale, best way is to google up some pics of AFB scale so you can know what to look for.

    But in all likelihood it's just gungy old dead brood.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Huntington ,VT, USA
    Posts
    256

    Default Re: rope test valid on older winter deadout?

    Thanks oldtimer you are affirming what I had come to believe on further inspection and research

    last years dead outs had no brood, and since I am new that was all I had to compare.
    No scale anywhere, the larva were identifiable/whole and more or less intact...no ropiness at all just wet slimy once stirred up. The color was a a bit on the brown side but really more grey.
    Which is a relief on severla levels..of course....but there are an awful lot of good frames of pollen and stores that I can put to good use now.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,852

    Default Re: rope test valid on older winter deadout?

    Quote Originally Posted by windfall View Post
    the larva were identifiable/whole and more or less intact...no ropiness at all just wet slimy once stirred up. The color was a a bit on the brown side but really more grey.
    Sounds like you are good to go!
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Huntington ,VT, USA
    Posts
    256

    Default Re: rope test valid on older winter deadout?

    Thanks again, the voice of experience is always reassuring (when it gives good news!) but appreciated no matter what the verdict

    For future reference with AFB:
    are the infected larva/capped brood consistently not-recognizable....just a pulpy mess?
    will said mess either be a dried out scale, or if still moist show the ropiness, even after significant time passes or freeze/thaw cycling?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,852

    Default Re: rope test valid on older winter deadout?

    Yes larvae killed by AFB turn into a sticky gob of brown, snot like material that ropes out cos it's so sticky. It can sometimes retain something like the shape of the extended larva right at pupation, but sometimes it just turns into a ball of goo. The AFB penetrates the gut wall and kills the larva at exactly the time it stretches out to pupate. They then travel through the whole larva and very quickly transform the whole thing into a very sticky material, making very difficult for the bees to clean without getting it all over everything in the process, and so spreading the infection.

    Scales only develop if the hive is dead or so weakened, that they no longer attempt to clean the dead larvae, so they dry out forming a scale along the length of the bottom of the cell, sometimes with the tongue sticking upwards but the rest of the scale is flat. The scale sticks to the cell wall so hard that it cannot be removed, other than by breaking the wax. Similar looking scales from say, sac brood, can be easily separated from the wax, so that is how you diagnose.

    Not sure how freezing affects it but the time it takes to dry out into a scale will depend on weather etc at the time.
    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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