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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Island county, Washington, USA
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    80

    Default Help! Sudden onset dysentery

    I went out to check on the one hive I have at home, a kTBH, and there's suddenly copious amounts of mustard color dysentery. A lot!! This is a three-year old hive. Although this is a very rainy cool climate, the bees have been foraging on good days and bringing in a lot of pollen for ~3 weeks. Today is sunny, 60F, and windy (15-20mph).

    There are no dead and/or crawling bees in front of the hive. Foragers are coming and going. As I watched, I saw 2 bees repeatedly defecating on the landing board and on the front of the hive. There's so much fecal matter that I saw several bees with their wings covered with it, although they themselves were not defecating.

    This hive has 4 small semi-circle entrances at the front. They normally use the 2 on the right. Those entrances were so thick with poop that bees coming and going were getting it all over themselves. I closed off those entrances so the bees would use the 'clean' entrances.

    What is happening????? I've NEVER seen this before! I've seen poop on the hive and landing board many times, but NOTHING like this!

    What should I do????????????????

    (They still have a lot of honey stores and are bringing in pollen, various colors. I haven't opened the hive, but there's a window on the side I can see in).


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Help! Sudden onset dysentery

    Long as you have not fed them anything you shouldn't have, it's most likely nosema apis, but not nosema cerana.

    If the weather is OK plus they are flying and foraging freely, the hive will likely recover. However if there is as much poop as you say, it would be a good plan to clean it up some. Does your hive have a screened bottom board? If it does you could (carefully) use say, a garden hose and small brush, finish off by spraying some diluted bleach on the affected areas, and do it on a good day when it will dry out fast.
    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
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Island county, Washington, USA
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    80

    Default Re: Help! Sudden onset dysentery

    Thank you Oldtimer. I have not fed them anything, they have plenty of their own honey and have been bringing in their own pollen. The climate here is cool maritime so it's mostly rain, sometimes partial sun (it's near Vancouver Is. BC, Canada). There are no sunny days forecast in the next week. I did try to clean the landing board with just water, as the bees were still foraging. It's 4pm now and they've mostly stopped, just a couple bees coming and going. Don't have access to a garden hose. All my other hives are out in various fields, but this is my 'home' hive. 'Home' is a tiny 2nd floor apartment and the hive is on a balcony barely large enough for a kTBH.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Help! Sudden onset dysentery

    Oh I see. I didn't realise the weather was that bad for you, it is when bees are confined by bad weather that hives can die of n. apis, as they contaminate each other pooping in the hive.

    Cleaning with water, if it does not dry quickly, plus is not sterilised with bleach, may cause more bees to get infected. In your current weather conditions probably best to only do cleaning if you can see it will reduce bee contact with contaminated poop. I really only suggested it because in a small TBH type entrance, coated with poop, it's kind of a recipe for spread of infection, and something radical like cleaning may help, done the right way.

    But what really helps hives with n. apis is good weather, so they can poop outside, and the hive cleans up. Coarse, you don't control the weather.
    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
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Pottstown, Pennyslvania, USA
    Posts
    290

    Default Re: Help! Sudden onset dysentery

    I'm going to get ready to be grilled, but how about feeding some Fumagilin-B? That's what I would do with a situation like this.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Help! Sudden onset dysentery

    That's what everybody is thinking, but nobody can say, because the question was not asked in the general forum.

    Having said that though, I've never fed drugs to bees, and have not lost a hive to n apis, probably because of our mild winters. Your harder winters, are a different matter. But as the bees in question are now able to get out, their survival without drugs is possible, although not guaranteed, IMO it's weather dependant for them at this stage, unless drugs are used. Me though, I wouldn't use drugs, but they're not my bees.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Island county, Washington, USA
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    80

    Default Re: Help! Sudden onset dysentery

    Yes, the drug part crossed my mind, but I posted in the treatment-free forum because I have never treated any of my hives. And don't have any treatments available.

    Due to our weather, I see poop on the hives sometimes, but it's never been an issue. Just a short temporary thing that goes away. However, I've never seen a sudden onset, and so much, like I saw today. They weren't flying yesterday, or this morning, because of heavy rain, but this is normal weather for them. They are frequently confined for a a day or two, or a few, and then fly when they can but I don't see dysentery like I did today. (That first happened suddenly early afternoon when the winds calmed, sun came out, and bees started flying).

    I didn't use a lot of water to clean up the poop, just a moist paper towel to get the most off quickly as possible.

    Right now it's calm and 50F (10C) and will be light for a few more hours. Bees aren't flying but I took a quick look in the hive. I looked at the last comb (didn't want to disturb the bees by cracking propolis) and saw that the comb was half capped honey and half uncapped. The uncapped part was fermenting. It still smelled like nectar (not vinegar or alcohol) but it was bubbly in the cells. I'm guessing the combs near it also have some uncapped, fermenting nectar. But the other combs, nearer the broodnest, appear to still be fully capped from what I can see through the window.

    Could this have caused the sudden dysentery? Would bees eat fermenting nectar when they have plenty of capped stores? I only saw a few dead bees on the floor, no poop on the combs (that I could see) and no bad smells.

    I know I need to get that fermented nectar out of there, but the weather for the next week is going to be about the same, highs of 50F (10C) during the day and a little lower at night. Some breakthrough sun possible later in the week.......

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    9,183

    Default Re: Help! Sudden onset dysentery

    Quote Originally Posted by DPBsbees View Post
    I'm going to get ready to be grilled, but how about feeding some Fumagilin-B? That's what I would do with a situation like this.
    If you know you're going to get grilled, then why post it? I've had plenty of hives with dysentery that I've never resorted to treating. As already pointed out, there are factors at play here that can easily be managed to help a colony deal with it. Besides, Fumagilin-B doesn't cure dysentery.
    Regards, Barry

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Rupert, Idaho
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    111

    Default Re: Help! Sudden onset dysentery

    Sorry Barry, that is probably why newbees like me should just read more and keep quiet. I will learn more by just listening and reading. Sorry again.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    395

    Default Re: Help! Sudden onset dysentery

    Hi Ziva,
    Just take the fermented combs out. The temp is not that important as you won't be going through the brood combs. With the cool weather the bees will mostly be clustered on the brood leaving the honey combs free of bees.

    If the bees are stuck in the hive on rainy windy days with temps that would normally allow the bees to fly they will go for the uncapped stores at the back of the hive. If they can make their way to the back of the hive they will use the open stores before uncapping other stores.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Island county, Washington, USA
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Help! Sudden onset dysentery

    Quote Originally Posted by Delta Bay View Post
    Hi Ziva,
    If the bees are stuck in the hive on rainy windy days with temps that would normally allow the bees to fly they will go for the uncapped stores at the back of the hive. If they can make their way to the back of the hive they will use the open stores before uncapping other stores.
    Thank you Delta Bay. I was wondering if they would go for the uncapped first. The bees were at the front of the hive when I opened it, but there were a couple at the back where the half uncapped combs are.

    It's almost 11am, cool and rainy so they haven't been out yet today. I will remove the fermented combs asap as soon as I get home from work. Thank you again.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    43,610

    Default Re: Help! Sudden onset dysentery

    >I've had plenty of hives with dysentery that I've never resorted to treating

    Me too. The fact is anytime they are confined, they get dysentery, ESPECIALLY when they are rearing brood and consuming large quantities of pollen and they get confined.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    centerville, IA, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: Help! Sudden onset dysentery

    how about A new package two days old in a foundationless hive bad poops
    Rick Kumer

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Island county, Washington, USA
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    80

    Default Re: Help! Sudden onset dysentery

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >I've had plenty of hives with dysentery that I've never resorted to treating

    Me too. The fact is anytime they are confined, they get dysentery, ESPECIALLY when they are rearing brood and consuming large quantities of pollen and they get confined.
    But, this is our normal weather pattern. What alarmed me was the sheer amount of it which I'd never seen before, and this hive is 3 years old. Anyway, I removed the combs (3) which were half capped and half fermenting uncapped nectar. I cut off the fermenting nectar and gave the capped part of the comb back to the bees. 2 of the combs were capped on one side and uncapped (fermenting) on the other side. I tried to cut off the uncapped side but the combs broke. So I just moved the follower board to close up the space from the 2 missing combs. They still have plenty of capped honey combs.

    After I did that, they were confined by weather for another day. The next day there was a sun break, bees started flying, and I was disappointed to still see some dysentery although it was greatly reduced. Then more rain and total confinement for the next two days. Then we had partial sunny afternoons for the next two days. Bees flying and no dysentery! None. Yay!!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Island county, Washington, USA
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    80

    Default Re: Help! Sudden onset dysentery

    Quote Originally Posted by weldingfreak6010 View Post
    how about A new package two days old in a foundationless hive bad poops
    Was there still syrup in the cans with the packages? Or were the cans empty? If there was any syrup left, was it thin? I've seen bad dysentery (poops) with packages delivered with very thin syrup/sugar water.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    centerville, IA, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: Help! Sudden onset dysentery

    1/2 inch of syrup left in can, they got drenched in a rain yesterday cover partially came off, heavy yellow poop
    Rick Kumer

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Island county, Washington, USA
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Help! Sudden onset dysentery

    Oh, sorry to hear about the cover coming off and them getting drenched. Packages are already highly stressed, and then getting drenched only a day after getting hived would stress them even more. Make sure the cover is secured so it won't come off again, then don't disturb them so they can settle in. Is the hive still wet inside from the rain yesterday? What is your weather forecast like?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    centerville, IA, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: Help! Sudden onset dysentery

    Here is what happened in this thread http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ewed-the-pooch
    Last edited by weldingfreak6010; 04-19-2013 at 08:25 AM. Reason: swpelling
    Rick Kumer

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Island county, Washington, USA
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Help! Sudden onset dysentery

    Oh, I see the picture now. You did the right thing putting them in a dry nuc box. The dysentery would be expected under the conditions they've been in. It should go away after they are able to start flying more. Keep us posted and best of luck!

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