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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    watertown,wi.,USA
    Posts
    473

    Default Spring inspection, dysentery??

    One of my hives died over winter and now I have a few questions that I am not able to find the answers to. This is was my first winter with bees, I started the hives last Spring. I left 2 deep hive bodies on for the winter and there are still some frames with capped and uncapped honey in them. There are also some frames with pollen in them as well. All bees were dead and there were many that were dead with their heads face first in the cells. It seems like most of the dead bees were on the outer frames, in addition to the majority on the screened bottom. There was a lot of brown streaking on the inside walls of the hive bodies and quite a bit of streaking across the frames and down the drawn comb(dysentery??). I use screened bottom boards and a notched top entrance for ventilation. Although I thought that I left them enough stores for the winter, I also poured about 6 lbs. of sugar on a sheet of newspaper on top of the upper deep frames(which they did not seem to collect and store any of it). I did a quick clean up/inspection of the hives bodies and frames yesterday to get some of the mess cleaned up. At this point......

    1. Was it dysentery that killed my bees(brown streaking and heads in the cells)?
    2. Can/should I reuse the hives bodies, frames and drawn comb to hive a new package in, now in Spring?
    3. Do the hive bodies and frames need to be cleaned/disenfected a specific way with specific cleaning materials?
    4. With capped and uncapped honey, pollen, and granulated sugar left on and in the cells of the drawn comb does it need to be removed prior to reusing the frames and bodies or will the "new" package that I will install clean and "remodel" everything to their liking?
    5. Is there any concerns that I should have installing a new package into a hive that I think died from dysentery?

    I apologize for so many questions. Please answer any or all that you can. juzzerbee

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
    Posts
    223

    Default Re: Spring inspection, dysentery??

    1. Not directly. It may have been nosema, which can cause dysentery. Dysentery (defecation in the hive) results whenever bees are unable to leave the hive for cleansing flights. This can be due to illness, or simply because the cluster is too small (due to queen issues, mites, or poor winter prep) to generate sufficient heat. With a screened bottom board and open top entrance in a cold winter climate, a larger cluster will be required to maintain adequate heat.

    2. Yes, unless there are signs of American Foulbrood.

    3. That depends on whether you suspect nosema. Nosema spores can supposedly survive for years, though as most hives have them anyway some residual spores in the combs are acceptable. Randy Oliver has some disinfection suggestions here: http://scientificbeekeeping.com/the-...ve-treatments/ Even just leaving the frames exposed to sunlight for a few days may help.
    If you don't suspect nosema (if the queen was failing or mites are an obvious culprit) no disinfection is necessary.

    4. The new bees will clean up the frames and build up quickly using the ample stores of capped honey. Granulation does not matter. If the pollen has gone hard and moldy, they will clean it out but won't use it. Fermented uncapped honey can give bees dysentery; if there is a lot of it you can spin the frames at low speed in an extractor (without uncapping!) to get it out.

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    watertown,wi.,USA
    Posts
    473

    Default Re: Spring inspection, dysentery??

    Mark- Thanks for the quick response.

    Can anyone tell me how to tell for sure if my hives very likely had/have Nosema versus them just having dysentery and dying from some other cause? I would like to know just to become more educated and so I would know if I need to take the next step of cleaning the bodies and frames prior to using. Thanks, juzzerbee

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Lebanon, Maine
    Posts
    103

    Default Re: Spring inspection, dysentery??

    Just a quick comment. Screened bottom board (closed or open, doesn't matter) and upper entrance is ok for cold climates. I have done that and had no issues overwintering. Upper entrance is actually preferred due to possible snow cover.
    Chip Harlow

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MN, USA
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: Spring inspection, dysentery??

    Quote Originally Posted by juzzerbee View Post
    Can anyone tell me how to tell for sure if my hives very likely had/have Nosema versus them just having dysentery and dying from some other cause?
    You would need to send them in for analysis to be 100% certain.

    http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=7473
    I love the smell of nectar in the morning.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    watertown,wi.,USA
    Posts
    473

    Default Re: Spring inspection, dysentery??

    I cleaned all 20 frames and comb with bleach water, scraped all the wood, and let them sit in the sun for 4-5 hours. As I looked at the frames and drawn comb, I found 2 frames that had the dysentery on the comb much more than the others. Although I sprayed and set them in sunlight is it better to just throw out the 2 frames that looked a bit worse than the others? Thanks, juzzerbee

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