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Thread: sick hive

  1. #1
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    Sep 2013
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    Pinyon Pines, CA, USA
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    Default sick hive

    Hi I am a new beekeeper and would like some help identifying a problem Im having. I checked my hive on Sunday and found uncapped dark pupa and some melted larvae. There was very spotty brood pattern and my population was severely diminished. I think it might be sacbrood and hopefully not foulbrood. Any insight would be helpful. 002.jpg003.jpg004.jpg005.jpg011.jpg012.jpg

  2. #2
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    Aug 2013
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    Leicester, United Kingdom
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    Default Re: sick hive

    there are easy tests you can do to help you find out if it's afb.
    matchstick test seems easiest.
    plenty of information about it if you google it.

  3. #3
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    Sep 2012
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    Waterville, NY
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    Default Re: sick hive

    Yolanda
    Are there any uncharacteristic odors associated with the hive?
    People don't like it when you make them think. People like it when you make them think they are thinking

  4. #4
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    Aug 2005
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    Default Re: sick hive

    There are only a couple of open cells with developing larva - It is hard to diagnose over the internet yet I do not see the characteristic sac around the larva that would indicate sac brood. Most of the cells have only one egg centered at the bottom of the cell which to me indicates that the eggs were laid by a queen. In the last picture it looks like there is one cell with two eggs - I'm not sure what to make of that. That can be a sign of a new queen just getting started with her laying. The capped brood (what little there is) looks to be normal worker brood and is from outward appearance healthy.

    In picture #4 - the one with pollen - there are a few cells of what looks to be developing larvae in the process of melting down - but I can't see the cells clearly. One looks like it may have a mite or something in it.

    I think you need to get someone to look at this hive - It looks to me to be in the last stages of dieing out and I would not invest any money in the hive (like purchasing a new queen) without knowing with certainty what health issues your bees are dealing with.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: sick hive

    #1 at the very bottom a little to the right, possible sac brood. #2 just below center, probably the same ones as in #1 and possible sac brood. #3 to the right of center another possible sac brood. It's easier to tell for sure in person...

    I never used to see any sac brood around. Just pictures in the books. I started seeing it in other peoples hives right after Varroa got bad. It's a viral disease and is probably spread by the Varroa.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
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    Sep 2013
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    Default Re: sick hive

    No there wasn't any odor.

  7. #7
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    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: sick hive

    How's the population, and stores look low.

  8. #8
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    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: sick hive

    I certainly can't say for sure, but it looks like the final stage of severe mite infestation to me. Even if you still have a queen, what remains of the hive is too far gone to recover any time soon. Sorry. But don't give up.

  9. #9
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    Sep 2013
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    Default Re: sick hive

    Thank you all for your input. I have placed an order with Mann Lake for the foulbrood test kits. It'll at least help me determine if I need to burn my equipment or not. Fingers crossed I don't have too.

    Yolanda

  10. #10
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    May 2012
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    Default Re: sick hive

    It doesn't look like foul brood, it looks like poor stores and brood dying from high mite pressure.

  11. #11
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    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    Default Re: sick hive

    I'm with David. No sign of AFB. #5 has uncapped mature workers which indicates possible varroa issues.

  12. #12
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: sick hive

    I don't see anything that looks like foulbrood. Neither American nor European.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
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    Sep 2013
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    Default Re: sick hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    I don't see anything that looks like foulbrood. Neither American nor European.
    I hope you are right! I did see some mites, but I didn't think they were that serious. Maybe that is the culprit. Thanks again for your insight.

  14. #14
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    Sep 2013
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    Default Re: sick hive

    Just a follow up. Last week I went to check on the hive and everyone was gone. I had an empty box. I was able to finally test for both AFB & EFB today and both were negative. I did see some webbing on a frame or two. Could it have been wax moth that would have caused them to leave initially and the result of the weakened hive was the neglected and melted brood? Thank you again for the input.

  15. #15
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    Evansville, IN
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    Default Re: sick hive

    A weak hive will have wax moths, and in a week or so if you don't do anything with them those frames will be solid with webbing and large wax moth larvae.

    Could be mites, could be plain starvation (although there is plenty of pollen), perhaps nosema? At any rate, they dwindled away on you.

    Peter

  16. #16
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    Default Re: sick hive

    Sounds like mite collapse then robbing made them leave possibly.

  17. #17
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: sick hive

    Usually wax moths are the result rather than the cause of a colony failure.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    Default Re: sick hive

    I have a hive with very similar issues. The larva have died before capping, shriveling into the "stomache" position and turning brown. There is a mildew smell present and as time went by you could actually see what appeared to be fungus in some of the cells. There are also dead capped larva and emerging bees, and when you scratch off the cap, mites will pour out of it looking for more victims. It looks very much like a combination of EFB and several other diseases, but when you do the matchstick test, the larva is milky and mushy and not ropy, though some of the uncapped larva left a black scale. Very hard to determine what is going on. There seems to be symptoms of just about everything. Yolanda, some of your pics look a lot like what I saw when it first started.

    There are also multiple eggs present in many cells, but the hive is queenright. I pulled the queen out for 3 weeks as a last ditch attempt to help them, so that maybe they could clean up the dead and get ahead of the illness, but when I checked them yesterday after releasing the queen two weeks ago - they were still in the same shape. Next step is to take a sample and send it to Beltsville, but I am pretty sure the hive is toast. I am also pretty sure it was the mites - IBDS or Varroasis.

    Someone else mentioned to me that it looked like some sort of brood poisoning from something they got into, maybe? - but I think it was the mites. Just need to figure out what to do with the woodenware and frames to keep from passing anything on to other hives. These bees are some of my only truly domestic bees, I suspect they are not up to the task without a lot of intervention from the beekeeper. I suppose I could shake them onto drawn comb in a nuc and hope for the best, but I don't really want to possible contaminate anything useful if it turns out to be something really nasty - so they are going to have to tough it out in their current remote location and let natural selection run it's course.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Murray County, Georgia
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    229

    Default Re: sick hive

    I've had five or six hives in that shape. Generally it is all the booming hives from spring. I killed mites in june and they don't have a high mite load but they're sick. Some have been cleaned up with terramycine and steady feed. If they do not respond with healthy brood after a couple of weeks I have pulled out all frames of sick brood and give them frames of healthy capped brood while continuing to treat with extender patties or terramyacine dust. This seems to get them over the hump and back toward health. If you let them dwindle they'll get slimed.

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