Black dots on brood - dead pupae in tray - what is it?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2016
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    Franklin, TN, USA
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    Default Black dots on brood - dead pupae in tray - what is it?

    I need experienced beekeepers to tell me what this is please. See photos attached. There are strange black dots on some uncapped brood.

    It is not the wire which is also visible in some cells. Is this SHB eggs/larva? I found some big larva in the hive tray of the neighboring hive, but didn't see any of this going on.
    I intended to do a mite count, but found this upon inspection. Bees seemed okay. Saw eggs and all types of brood. The pattern is looking a little spotty too? I didn't see the queen this time. She is unmarked and I'm still learning to spot her.
    This was a 3 lb package that was installed mid May. I found SHB about five in beetle blaster and I have a bottom board trap too, but didn't pull it out.
    I also noted white spots on the backs of some of the bees which you can see in some of the photos.

    Advice and recommendations appreciated. I will try to get in touch with my mentor this evening, but I am anxious to find out what is going on with that hive.
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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Nashville, TN, USA
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    40

    Default Re: Black dots on brood - dead pupae in tray - what is it?

    I've never seen one before, but that looks an awful lot like a varroa mite. I hope our foraging radii don't overlap.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2016
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    Robeson County, North Carolina
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    739

    Default Re: Black dots on brood - dead pupae in tray - what is it?

    Not varroa. At least not the actual mite. Subscribed.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
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    4,646

    Default Re: Black dots on brood - dead pupae in tray - what is it?

    Are those with larva with black dots dead?

    >Saw eggs and all types of brood. The pattern is looking a little spotty too?

    I think so too, I did not see any signs of EFB in your pictures, but I would keep any eye out for it. Do you have any more pictures of the full frames of capped and open brood?

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Atlanta, GA, USA
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    195

    Default Re: Black dots on brood - dead pupae in tray - what is it?

    Do a sugar roll or an alcohol wash - you got mites
    It is what it is!

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Aberdeen, Idaho
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    1,148

    Default Re: Black dots on brood - dead pupae in tray - what is it?

    Chalk brood mummies?? Look on the bottom board for some that have been pulled out. They start out white with the head dark. As the fungus sporulates it will turn black.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Franklin, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Black dots on brood - dead pupae in tray - what is it?

    There are quite a few dead pupae in the lime tray. They are totally white, but with formed heads etc. They are solid white almost clear.
    My bee club members recommended having the inspector come out, so I contacted him. He is coming out one day this week, and thinks it sounds like mites.
    I've attached a picture of a full frame and another picture. There is such a steep learning curve to this hobby.

    Thank you everyone for your responses. I will update you after the inspection.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #8
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    May 2016
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    Franklin, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Black dots on brood - dead pupae in tray - what is it?

    I don't think so. I'm in west Franklin. I'll update once I know what is going on with the hive. I didn't see it in my other hive though, but I did complete the sugar roll and found mites on bees. Black mites though not red.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2016
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    Robeson County, North Carolina
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    Default Re: Black dots on brood - dead pupae in tray - what is it?

    Please do. Another symptom of PMS maybe? You confirmed mite presence, but what was your count? Here is a picture of EFB from beeinformed.org. Lot's of great information on disease. Could it be that there is scale in the cells and it is visible through the semi-transparent larvae and appears to be spots or lines? Really interested in your inspector's call.
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  11. #10
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    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Black dots on brood - dead pupae in tray - what is it?

    Not 100% certain but what that very much looks like is mite damage to the brood and then a secondary infection is turning parts of the larvae black, if you get rid of the mites, very likely it will clear up.
    Last edited by Oldtimer; 06-14-2016 at 06:18 PM.

  12. #11
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    Aug 2011
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    KC, MO, USA
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    Default Re: Black dots on brood - dead pupae in tray - what is it?

    beeinformed.org; That's not a real good picture of EFB, there is a hint by the intermingling of different aged larva as seen in the top few cells.

    Here is a text book case of EFB that show it all, dead slump, twisted off colored larva, spotty capped and open brood, intermingling of different aged larva (with EFB lab confirmation);

    https://www.beesource.com/forums/show...-pics-included

    >There are quite a few dead pupae in the lime tray. They are totally white, but with formed heads etc.

    Sound like mites, do a mite count.

  13. #12
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    May 2016
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    Robeson County, North Carolina
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    Default Re: Black dots on brood - dead pupae in tray - what is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by FlowerPlanter View Post
    beeinformed.org; That's not a real good picture of EFB, there is a hint by the intermingling of different aged larva as seen in the top few cells.]
    Agree, not a very comprehensive picture of EHB symptoms. It was actually a close-up to show infected brood food, but I thought there was a pretty striking similarity to some of the OP's pictures, and good close-up of scale. Off to check-out the link you provided...

  14. #13
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    May 2016
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    Default Re: Black dots on brood - dead pupae in tray - what is it?

    OP, any update on this? Just emailed our state inspector about a similar condition on one of my hives. She said now is the time, at least where we are located, for Purple Brood - caused from foraging on Cyrilla racemiflora - Titi or leatherwood. Fortunately only lasts one generation.

  15. #14
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    May 2016
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    Franklin, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Black dots on brood - dead pupae in tray - what is it?

    The inspector hasn't shown up yet. I order Mite Away strips, but they haven't arrived yet. This hive is looking really bad now. I see very little activity compared to my other hive and the ants are trying to invade it not the other one. I'm going to contact the inspector again. If he doesn't come soon, then there probably won't be anything to inspect. I'm also going to look into the Purple brood you mentioned.
    Thank you for the EFB posts as I'm looking at them too. I took the top feeder off today and moved to a baggy feeder in hopes of keeping ants out of the top. These bees don't need anything else to contend with.
    I peeked in and saw a bee that looked epileptic (best way I can describe it). There are some sick bees in that hive, but no odor.

  16. #15
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Black dots on brood - dead pupae in tray - what is it?

    MAQS is not, unfortunately, a good choice for a hive in this condition, it is too harsh and can be the final death knell for such a hive. Apivar is a much safer choice. However it may be all over for this hive regardless.

  17. #16
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    Jun 2016
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    Durrus, Co.Cork Ireland
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    Default Re: Black dots on brood - dead pupae in tray - what is it?

    That is, without a doubt, a bad case of varroa. You can see the faeces at the bottom of the cells very clearly. I'm no expert on this matter but a oxalic vap might help, however, you might weaken the hive more. Do you have another hive you can take a frame of brood from? Put it in AFTER the treatment. To see how infested your hive is after the vap, put a correx board under your screened bottom before treatment (if you use one) with a very thin layer of veg oil so they stick so as you can count the drop. Good luck!!!

  18. #17
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    May 2016
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    Franklin, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Black dots on brood - dead pupae in tray - what is it?

    The inspector just left. We opened the hives and didn't see any of the black spots and the brood pattern is looking better. I still saw some bees convulsing this morning when I filled the feeder baggie. Whatever issues there were must have resolved without intervention. The population is down and the inspector said it should be built up more at this point. He thinks is going to be okay and advised me not to treat for mites yet. He suggests waiting until Sept. to treat.
    My other hive still hasn't built out the first box either, but there are significantly more bees in it. Next week I'll take a frame of brood and emerging bees from the healthier hive and put it in the weaker hive (making sure the marked queen isn't on it of course). That was his recommendation for moving forward and strengthening the hive. I trust his assessment. He has been doing this a long time and just harvested a lot of honey from his hives.
    What a relief! I hate to have bothered him, but it is a better outcome than expected and for that I am thankful. It sounds crazy, but I actually prayed over them all week long. I guess prayers were answered.

    Thank you all for the responses. I was shocked - shocked - given the decrease in population that there weren't any signs of the black spots.
    I did a powdered sugar treatment last Friday, so maybe that helped.

  19. #18
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    Jun 2016
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    Durrus, Co.Cork Ireland
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    Default Re: Black dots on brood - dead pupae in tray - what is it?

    You should wear some disposable gloves while you are visiting your other hive. A hands on approach would spread the disease - that's if they have other problems too. I'm very interested in the outcome

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Ozark, AL
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    Default Re: Black dots on brood - dead pupae in tray - what is it?

    I agree that an oxalic vap might help. If done quick, fast, and in a hurry though it should not weaken the hive. Then if your other hives are strong enough and can spare a frame or two maybe you can add them to the weaker hive.

  21. #20
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    May 2016
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    Robeson County, North Carolina
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    Default Re: Black dots on brood - dead pupae in tray - what is it?

    That's good news. Hope you have a great fall flow and your hives build up fast. Sounds like you are in a holding pattern still. One thing you could do, that is non-lethal and won't hurt the colony at all, is a sugar roll. Only takes 1/2 cup of bees. You would then have a quantitative measure of the mite load. I would be surprised if your inspector still recommended postponing treatment for two months if the actual counts were high. I'll bet he is concerned about mid-summer temperatures when using MAQS. There are other treatment methods if it is indeed varroa.

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