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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Hampstead, NC USA
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    567

    Default Is one hive witb AFB a death senetence to entire apiary?

    I've found & destroyed a hive with AFB in a yard that has 5 other hives. The hive was being robbed but it was only 2 days prior that I had checked this yard and things looked normal. I wasin the process of making 5 double nucs into double 10-frame deeps and had done all but this AFB hive. I needed more eequipment so I returned 2days later & found this hive being robbed. As I mentioned I burned the bees & frames and scorched the boxes.
    I medicated the other 5 hives in hopes that there wasn't robbing going on prior to brood in the other hives that was old enough to not get AFB infection.
    Just wondering if others have had hives with AFB yet still have hives in the same area survive?
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: Is one hive witb AFB a death senetence to entire apiary?

    How sure are you that it was AFB?

    Fortunately, I haven't encountered your difficulty, but twice in separate years, different inspectors tagged one of my hives and grabbed a sample. Later I received letters giving a clean bill of health. I suspect if one infected hive is a death sentence to the yard, the inspectors would have tagged all my colonies.

    I applaud your response, but suggest you also discard the boxes. I've read boxes harbor the infection and no amount of treatment can eliminate it.

    PA Dept of Agriculture provides inspections upon request as part of my $10 apiarist licence. If NC does the same, that may provide support for the rest of the yard. Beyond that I suggest a regular watchful eye.

    Good luck and keep us posted.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    Posts
    97

    Default Re: Is one hive witb AFB a death senetence to entire apiary?

    Keep us posted

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,196

    Default Re: Is one hive witb AFB a death senetence to entire apiary?

    Time will tell. You should have taken care of the diseased hive before it got robbed out. But you already know that. Best of luck.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,910

    Default Re: Is one hive witb AFB a death senetence to entire apiary?

    But to answer your question - no it isn't always. TN is really strict about AFB - they burn any infected hives, quarantine the rest and then reinspect in a few weeks. And we don't have much of it.

    Anyway, a fellow in our club had a hive with AFB that had to be burned, but it didn't spread to the rest of his hives.

    Good luck.
    since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,835

    Default Re: Is one hive witb AFB a death senetence to entire apiary?

    Hopefully you are treating with tylosin or tylan as much of the AFB is resistent to terrimyacin variants. I just burned a whole buch of equipment but chose not to treat. I don't want the meds to mask the disease until all my equipment is contaminated and I have to treat as a matter of course. I may be very wrong with that philosophy and if I was anything but a hobbyist, I couldn't afford it. So I am waiting and inspecting regularly. Dadant sells the test kits. I keep a couple on hand so I can check out my suspicions immediately. I have never heard that well scorched boxes were a problem? Anyone else think that?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Hampstead, NC USA
    Posts
    567

    Default Re: Is one hive witb AFB a death senetence to entire apiary?

    I had a hive last year that tested positive for AFB. It was in another yard and the other 3 hives in the same yard, so far, are not infected. Actually they are booming. I know AFB can still be present in these hives and may crop up in the future.
    I spoke with the NC bee inspector for my area about the issues I was having last year and he came out within a couple of days and confirmed the hive had AFB. I had frozen the frames from this hive and he took one back to the lab to confirm by testing. He also looked through several hives at my home to see if I had spread it from the outyard that produced the AFB hive and my home hives. He didn't find anythin to worry about and my home hives , again so far, appear clean. I had been doing tons of manipulations between the three outyards that I keep modest numbers of hives at.
    In NC we can have out equipment gassed for a very inexpensive price. When the inspector came by for a follow up visit he took back 10 frames and I think the cost was $6.00 including the deep box. He said I could scorch the boxes and they would be fine. I have a large propane torch and scorched any boxes, bottoms, tops & inner covers I had at the time. I made sure to get all the surfaces and made almost all of the wooden ware almost completely black. I am not worried about scorched equipment so long as I toast it thouroughly.
    I told him I hated the idea of killing the bees and that I'd read some information about a way to try and save them by placing the bees in clean equipment with a single frame of clean drawn comb and removing the comb after 24 hours by which time the bees will have placed all the nectar they were carrying into. He said he would allow me to do this experiment one time but if I had any future AFB infected colonies to kill & burn (yet it would be OK to scorch the wooden ware). I took the bees and clean equipment to a yard several miles away and placed them into it. I went back the next day and removed the drawn frame that the nectar in it and replaced it with foundation and fed them about 5 gallons of syrup over a few weeks. They drew out all 10 frames and the queen was laying vary well. I didn't have much hope for this colony but I was curious about the prospect of saving the bees. I was amazed to find this hive thriving after the winter inside a single deep. It was full of brood and I placed a second deep of drawn comb on it. I went back to it about 2 months ago and treated for Varroa at the same time I put the second deep on it. I went back today and there were 16 of 20 frames with brood that all looked perfect. I put 2 medium supers on it. I know there is still a chance that the hive has live spores so I'll take care to not mix equipment but it looks like I should get well over 100 lbs off this hive that I would have normally killed. Even if it dies in the future it was worth saving so long as I know the dangers of spreading the spores and do not do things that will.
    Regarding this most recent AFB hive-it came from my third yard. I know for certain that the robbing had gone on in the outyard that produced last years AFB hive for well over a week yet, so far, the nearby hives are performing wonderfully. Fingers crossed. That is why I have at least some hope, that by catching this recent AFB colony very early AND treating it with Lincomycin, that I these hives will have a good chance. Time will tell.
    Last year was a horror show for my beekeeping and I was so disgusted that I came very close to just giving up. This year, after doing a lot of feeding, requeening etc. I have (had) built back up to 15 strong hives going into the flow. I lost one, as I mentioned, to AFB and I lost another to starvation which was my fault. I lost only one hive over the winter out of 16 which is a record low. This is prior to the AFB & starved colonies. Now I find this AFB hive after being so pumped about how well my bees bounced back and I get that same dreaded feeling of doom.
    All I can do is wait and be careful as to how I manage my management. If it turns out that I have start seeing more hives with AFB I am going to call it quits. I do this to raise $ for a cancer foundation and it is costing me a large amount of personal funds. This I don't mind but I'm not going to try and overcome the worst illness in the beekeeping hobby if it does run rampant over my colonies. It is just one thing after another as it is with poor queens being sold, varroa mites taking out colonies etc. To try and stay ahead of a doomed apiary would only be possible by constantly medicating which isn't effective or practical.
    Thanks
    Howard

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Citrus County, Florida, United States
    Posts
    258

    Default Re: Is one hive witb AFB a death senetence to entire apiary?

    Here's a New Jersey State Apiarist performing an AFB remediation, step by step.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zUXU9NI2Hg

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Lincolnton, NC
    Posts
    1,099

    Default Re: Is one hive witb AFB a death senetence to entire apiary?

    Thanks for this post. Please keep us informed.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Hampstead, NC USA
    Posts
    567

    Default Re: Is one hive witb AFB a death senetence to entire apiary?

    I can't view this video on my phone but I'll see it later-thanks.
    It's interesting that I found the instructions on saving the bees from an AFB infected colony in Ross Conrad's book, "Natural Bee Keeping". He writes about his problems with AFB and how he would treat with TM yet he would continually get infected hives showing up. He then bit the bullet and early one Spring put everything in clean wood with plain foundation and the single "depositary" comb which he removed the next day. He states this cleared up the problem and is since AFB free.
    It is a lot of cost however in NC I can get all the AFB frames of comb that contain anything but honey, sanitized very cheaply which could be a big boost.
    I'll see what happens.
    Thanks
    Howard

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,719

    Default Re: Is one hive witb AFB a death senetence to entire apiary?

    Re the video posted by Nature Coast Beek, I was rather surprised to see this method still being used. It is known as "shook swarming".

    Early last century we had a major AFB problem in my country that reached crisis proportions, nobody really knows but it's thought that as many as 30% of hives could have been infected. There was no legislation around AFB at that time.

    Shook swarming was commonly used to save a colony. However, while it worked most of the time, it didn't always work. The realisation set in that it didn't work often enough, that shook swarming was one of the things causing the on going high AFB infection rates to continue.

    The government acted and made shook swarming illegal, and the burning of AFB infected hives compulsory. Within a few years we went from the country with one of the highest AFB infection rates in the world, to one of the lowest rates in the world.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    618

    Default Re: Is one hive witb AFB a death senetence to entire apiary?

    Years ago we had an AFB outbreak in our commercial operation after we purchased some bees from an unreliable source. Virginia State inspectors red tagged the colonies but allowed us to shake the bees into new setups on foundation. For several years we continued to fight outbreaks of the disease. Had I known then what I know now we would never had done that. The re-occurrence of infection is high and the constant process of burning all infected equipment is expensive. In my opinion if you find an outbreak in your apiary burn everything and move on. Don't even consider scorching the boxes as it is not 100% effective. There was a study I recall that utilized the shook-swarm method of disease prevention that shook the colony into clean equipment with starter strips of wax foundation at the top of the frames. Once they were partly drawn out those frames were removed the comb destroyed and the starter strips replaced. This was then repeated once again until at last the bees were allowed to drawn out new foundation and utilize it. Feeding was permitted during this process. The results of this study were fairly good but I wouldn't do it if you paid me. The video of the N.J. inspector is irresponsible. I could be wrong (and please correct me if I am) Connecticut and New Jersey are well above the national average for AFB outbreaks in our country.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Tineo, Asturias, SPAIN
    Posts
    182

    Default Re: Is one hive witb AFB a death senetence to entire apiary?

    Sorry to hear about this problem. I have three hives with (I am 99% sure) AFB right now - tonight I am sealing them up and tomorrow, depending on the milk test, I will burn them if they test positive. The three have all the classic symptoms - sunken caps on brood, some nibbled on, smell, tongue, black scale (finally saw it today), and ropey boogers.

    I have one more, that one looks great. I bought Terramycin today as a precaution but now I am wondering after reading a post above - would be be better to just leave that hive intreated and wait to see? If they have it and all I do is mask it and later I trap swarms as I plan to do, I don't want to be risking their health.... so perhaps I should just wait and see and not treat?

    I totally understand about being tempted to give up. This is my second summer with bees, I was really excited but this has me down. After pulling a frame today to pull samples for the milk test and to look at closer - I can't get the smell/images out of my head. I keep smelling the stuff on my hands even though I washed them with bleach. I know the stuff doesn't affect humans but I have suddenly got the willies about the stuff - I keep feeling like I must have spores on me that I am spreading around the house and the property. I know, it's weird.

    Good luck challenger, I hope the rest of your hives stay clean, and wish me luck too, with only one good hive left I am going to have a sad summer if I end it with NO colonies.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,719

    Default Re: Is one hive witb AFB a death senetence to entire apiary?

    Quote Originally Posted by ForrestB View Post
    ropey boogers.
    That is the most easy part to diagnose and very reliable.

    Forrest often a hive will not get AFB, even right next to a badly infected one, so don't give up on the hive. But the infected ones sound bad, yes burn, no option.

    In my country drugs to treat AFB are illegal in a situation like yours with the clean hive, we just have to quarantine the hive from other hives for 12 months & see what happens, after 12 months they are considered OK. But I suspect in the US some may advise to use terramycin, this would mean that if a few spores have got into the good hive, the terramycin would prevent it forming the vegetative stage, and so stop the infection spreading. So it can work. But the down side is after you stop using terramycin there could be some spores left (spores are not killed by terramycin), and the disease will flare up.

    Whatever you do, all the best.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Hampstead, NC USA
    Posts
    567

    Default Re: Is one hive witb AFB a death senetence to entire apiary?

    I'm on my 6th year and this season is my best by 2-3 fold (not done extracting).
    The AFB has not appeared again YET. I am always waiting to find it. I'm a pessimistic person-just being real, and I feel I've learned enough to know I can't think I am completely out of the woods. Last year I got 0 honey due to AFB but mostly due to poor varroa control. I treated too late the year before. After last years problems I decided to try and grow my bee numbers by splitting a lot. I had all but one hive with virgin queens and brood less periods. This caused me to forego treating last year and I over wintered several double nucs and about the same number of double deeps. The nucs did better and I lost only one due to starvation and another to AFB (not confirmed but fried anyway). I lost 3 double deeps but the reason for this is unknown. The one hive I didn't treat went from a booming hive that I thought would give me 100 lbs to a varroa infected lost cause. Brood was hammered and DWV bees were very abundant. The hives that had brood less times grew like mad and I did a single formic flash in the Spring so everything worked well this year. I AM going to treat as soon as I can after I take honey.
    I am lucky we have a very cheap fumigation service at NC State. My inspector comes and transports everything.
    I still think I would do a shook swarm IF I had a ton of bees in an AFB hive. I purchased Linkomix and used it one a few nucs that were in the yard with this years AFB nuc. If I were a big operation I don't think it would be possible to keep track of a lot of shake outs. I also feel scorching boxes works but it is a personal choice. I flamed the hell out of every empty box I had this Spring to the point that they are charred completely. I have a rather large flame thrower so it is very easy to do & my inspector says it's OK even though I'd rather get them based. Timing isn't always favorable for this.
    I think throwing the bees into clean equipment, letting them puke out all traces of stomach contents into drawn comb, and then destroying this comb followed by a couple of rounds of antibiotics does the trick but, again, that's just me.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,719

    Default Re: Is one hive witb AFB a death senetence to entire apiary?

    Look at it this way. If you found a swarm hanging in a tree, but was told it was known to come from a hive infested with AFB, would you take that nice new hive you just bought, and spent the whole weekend assembling, painting, etc, and put that swarm in it? Would you risk it?

    That's what shook swarming is. All you are saving is some bees KNOWN to have come from an AFB infested hive.

    Yes, it's known to work, but yes, it's also known that it does not always work.

    As an ex commercial beekeeper I've had to deal with AFB. My method, burn everything. Problem solved, cheaper in the long run, this has always worked well.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,756

    Default Re: Is one hive witb AFB a death senetence to entire apiary?

    I am grateful that I do not have AFB. But after dealing with EFB for the last 3 weeks, in the case of AFB I am an advocate of dig a pit, seal the bees in and kill with dry ice/co2, put everything in the pit, and torch it.
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,676

    Default Re: Is one hive witb AFB a death senetence to entire apiary?

    As I recall the NJ video called for some specific circumstances - a very populous hive and a flow underway are the two that come to mind now. If you don't meet those two conditions (and there may be more) a shook swarm isn't going to have the desired results!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    897

    Default Re: Is one hive witb AFB a death senetence to entire apiary?

    Oldtimer " My method, burn everything. Problem solved, cheaper in the long run, this has always worked well. "
    Burn everything meaning the complete hive ( I agree) or all hives in the yard ( I would find this excessive)
    All my hives are numbered. When I extract I return the frames to the hive they came from. I clean my hive tool between each hive. After each inspection I " burn" the hive tool in metho.
    I record where every frame comes from when I do splits. I sterilise equipment ( eg SHB traps) after washing if they go into a different hive....
    We can reduce the risk but we will never eliminate it totally.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Is one hive witb AFB a death senetence to entire apiary?

    Just the hive not the whole yard!

    Sounds like you take all the precautions Max, is there much AFB in Aussie?
    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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