Need advice on brood pattern
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  1. #1
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    Default Need advice on brood pattern

    This is my first year beekeeping. Below are two pictures from my inspection today. The brood pattern looks spotty to me. But I know we are in a dearth, so that may be the cause? I would appreciate any insight from more experienced beekeepers. Is this normal or a problem queen?

    I just recently started feeding them 1:1 again ( for about a week so far)

    I did see the queen. And there is capped and larva. ( I couldn't see any eggs but I can't on visual inspection anyway and my pics either don't show any or I got the wrong angle to see - I usually take an hdr pic and expand it once I'm done to find eggs. ) IMG_1175.jpgIMG_1186.jpg

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Need advice on brood pattern

    [QUOTE=Kcnc1;1573932]This is my first year beekeeping. Below are two pictures from my inspection today. The brood pattern looks spotty to me. But I know we are in a dearth, so that may be the cause? I would appreciate any insight from more experienced beekeepers. Is this normal or a problem queen?

    The brood pattern itself may not be so bad; however I do believe that there are some virus infected larvae there. I would treat for mites and put on some glasses and look more closely for eggs. A failing queen is often a result of viruses in the brood.

    I hope that you have another hive from which you might obtain brood with eggs or for a 'unite' of the 2 hives after treating.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Need advice on brood pattern

    Looks spotty to me too. Is the hive strong / week, have you treated for mites lately ?

    Probably help to know about your hive, history, how started, how it grew, how big is it now, what did your brood pattern look like on previous inspections etc...

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Need advice on brood pattern

    Gino, September 2 is the final day of Apivar treatment. And they were just at threshold for treatment 5 mites in 300 bees with and alcohol wash. I do not believe the mites are the cause, but am interested in what about the larva looks like they are virus infected? It would help me to understand what I am missing.

    Red BarnThe hive is weaker than my other, but has done ok? Hard for me to tell or compare. This hive was started from a nuc in April. It currently is a deep and medium 8 frame for the brood chamber. I have one medium super on now that they have about 20lbs of stores in. ( I have about another 20lbs of stores in the freezer that I removed to condense the hive after the flow stopped. I figured I can feed back this winter if needed or next spring to get them a good start. At its peak it had the brood nest plus 1 super full and about 20lbs in the other.

    The brood pattern earlier in the year definitely was fuller. That's why I am posting. Is this normal during dearth? Or am I seeing a failing queen.
    Re: mites read my response to Gino.

    Ps. Am expecting a modest fall flow. In NC

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Need advice on brood pattern

    If mite levels are low I would look up some info on european foulbrood. There is not enough magnification in your pics to be clear on that possibility but the capped brood pattern is consistent.

    Notice the pearly white larvae color compared to ones shifting toward yellow / grey. New eggs and larvae being relaid amongst older ones that have died and been pulled. Larvae that is twisted or sagged down to bottom of cells. Shakeout 029.jpg I hope this is not what you have!
    Frank

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Need advice on brood pattern

    Dead center in the first pic are a pair of cells where the larvae seemed somewhat out of place, sort of slumpy towards the lower left side of the cell. It may be an artifact of the picture angle. But it bears a closer look.

    You want all late-stage larvae to be fat, glistening white and snugly curled up around the perimeter of their cells. Any off color (yellowish or grey) or larvae that are twisted or slumped are major red flags for EFB which is a brood disease of the larvae (not the pupae like AFB).

    On the good side, though, I see small patches of solid capped brood, and some apparently healthy larvae getting near to capping. EFB interrupts that at an earlier stage.

    Go back and look very carefully at all the brood frames, and take close-up, straight down pics of any larvae that don't look right.

    Find patches of eggs and mark the frame and watch them progress through the full range of larval development. If you see patches of eggs, but they don't develop in the normal sequence and time, then it's more likely you have EFB.

    Don't panic, though, it's not a burn the hive kind of thing. But it will be a major PITA. In the meantime practice extreme measures to not move frames or use unsanitized tools or dirty gloves when working on both colonies. Better safe than sorry.

    There is a quick and very accurate field/lab test for EFB (costs about $13/ea, available from many suppliers.)

    Treatment with antibiotics will clear up the infection, but not remove it permanently from your hive. That's where the PITA comes in.

    Nancy

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Need advice on brood pattern

    Quote Originally Posted by Kcnc1 View Post
    I do not believe the mites are the cause
    There should be a museum of beekeepers famous last words before hive is lost, and that statement, made by many beekeepers, should be at the top LOL.

    The brood pattern is spotty, but things can go this way in fall when the bees are winding down, I would not be overly concerned about that pattern.

    As others have stated though, there are virus infected larvae and this needs attention. The two cells at centre of pic one that Enjambres referenced, to me anyway, look like chewed white pupae, a symptom of varroa vectored viruses. To the left of those cells and slightly up, is a slumped larva, another sign of varroa vectored viruses. However, you have put apivar strips in, and it is normal for virus levels to persist some time after treatment is started, at a level of 5 mites per 300 bees at start of treatment symptoms will persist for a while they do not stop instantly.

    By the way, 5 mites per 300 bees is not insignificant at this time of year, that can become 10 or 15 mites per 300 bees in just a few weeks. Wether or not you believe it, you have probably just caught this in time to escape with negligeable damage.

    You do not say when you put the apivar strips in, only that you intend to remove them September 2nd. Apivar packet instructions are leave the strips in 6 to 8 weeks. But for you with this hive, I think you should leave them in 10 weeks. Also, be sure they are positioned properly. I have seen apivar treated hives lost to mites because the strips were positioned wrongly, ie, at the edge of the brood nest rather than among the brood. They must be right amongst the brood.

    Having said all that, as per Enjambres do not rule out EFB, I'm just saying how it appears to me, best I can see the pic.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Need advice on brood pattern

    Enjambres
    I can go in Again tomorrow and do as you suggested. I'll try to post some better pics.

    Old timer. September 2 is 42 days whichare the directions with the package. Does anyone know if leaving on longer can cause damage or lead to resistance?

    Thank you all for your help.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Need advice on brood pattern

    No it won't do damage. End of day though do what you comfortable with.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Need advice on brood pattern

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    No it won't do damage. End of day though do what you comfortable with.
    The thing that worries me, particularly with apivar, is that the package is dated and once opened it starts to lose potency.

    It's a problem in that it is hard to see whether the 'stuff' is working. Assuming you had a new viable package, that shouldn't be a problem and the mite count should be way down.

    The question remains: is the queen still actively laying or wearing down......that is to say, failing?

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Need advice on brood pattern

    Gino,

    It was a new package. And YES. That is my question. Queen issue, normal Dearth/winter prep, virus ?? I will get in there today and closely inspect, and keep observing.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Need advice on brood pattern

    IMG_0257.jpgIMG_0258.jpgIMG_0260.jpgI went back in today and below are some clearer photos. I did see abnormal larva. I saw eggs and marked the frames as suggested. I will follow the progression of those. A lot of normal brood as well. I will buy the test kit mentioned above to determine if it is AFB.

    If it isn't AFB, Does a weak queen start to produce faulty larva or is this indicative of a disease of some sort?

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Need advice on brood pattern

    Quote Originally Posted by Kcnc1 View Post
    IMG_0257.jpgIMG_0258.jpgIMG_0260.jpgI went back in today and below are some clearer photos. I did see abnormal larva. I saw eggs and marked the frames as suggested. I will follow the progression of those. A lot of normal brood as well. I will buy the test kit mentioned above to determine if it is AFB.

    If it isn't AFB, Does a weak queen start to produce faulty larva or is this indicative of a disease of some sort?
    I dont remember AFB being mentioned. EFB was my thought. I believe the test kit must be chosen depending on which organism tested for. They are not related.
    Frank

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Need advice on brood pattern

    See that white worker pupae that is uncapped?

    I had a lot of that before... crash!

    Your hive is filled with varroa and treatment might be too late.
    Somebody forgot to give my bees a copy of the book.
    Zone 6B

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Need advice on brood pattern

    Well, those larvae don't look healthy to me - something's not right.

    A weak queen starts to produce no eggs, or if she;'s running out of sperm only drones laid in worker cells (a problem called "drone-laying queen".) That's not what I am seeing.

    A queen infected by a viral disease might produce eggs that turn into unhealthy larvae, but that looks to me more like a disease that's infecting some of the larvae themselves. And, of course, that raises the possibility EFB, not AFB. EFB infects and kills larvae and AFB is primarily a disease of the pupal stage bees.

    This is the wrong time of year for generalized "snotty brood", which often occurs in the spring as the bees emerge stressed from winter, and often clears itself up when the fresh foraging, particularly supplies of protein/pollen become available.

    PMS looks like snotty brood, too, but since you are about halfway through your 42-day treatment and those questionable larvae are less than week old, I am not so sure. Viral diseases spread by the mites might be a possibility, but I am not familiar with how they manifest in the larval stage. Perhaps someone else has pictures of that?

    EFB, OTOH, I am, regrettably, quite familiar with since I had a bad outbreak of it here this year. After treatment with antibiotics, it is now getting cleared up from the bees, but it is not out of my apiary, yet.

    You can send a piece of comb to the USDA lab Beltsville, MD for a free diagnosis in case of EFB. When my bees came down with EFB earlier in the year, the lab was unfortunately closed. Sometimes it takes awhile to get results from them.

    The range of fixes for EFB at this time of year are more limited than earlier in the season, so time is of the essence.

    So my advice would be to send for a European Foul Brood test kit, or two ASAP. (I messed up slightly on the first test I did and wanted to repeat it to make sure of the results.) Betterbee sells them, and I am sure other places do, too. Brushy Mountain probably does.

    If you have a State apiary inspection system, I would call and ask for an inspection. The inspector may also know who in your area is an antibiotic prescribing bee-vet, if you choose to go that route. The treatment regimen itself is not hard to do and quite effective on the bees. (Mine were visibly getting better by the time I did the second dose - of three - on the fifth day after the first dose.) The treatment doesn't remove the bacteria from the combs and wooden equipment, however, and there in lies the rub. We can talk more about that once you know what's up, so don't fret now. But EFB doesn't produce the extremely long-term disease contamination of a colony - the bad boy is AFB. I would treat all the colonies in the yard.

    Meanwhile, move no frames or equipment around from hive to hive. And use clean tools and gloves for each one. I clean my hive tools by scrubbing with Comet powder with bleach and a stainless steel scrubbie to remove all the wax and propolis. Then I washed them in very hot water and soap. And then I soaked them in a bleach-water bath for 10 min. And then I soaked them in isopropyl alcohol for 10 min. And then I air dried them in the sun. Needless to say I bought more than one hive tool! And I used nitrile gloves between hives.

    I would also put a robber screen on the sick hive right away to make sure it can't get robbed out, which will spread the disease to other colonies.

    And also, if it is EFB, you likely didn't do anything to bring this on, so don't beat yourself up.

    Nancy

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Need advice on brood pattern

    Your hive is filled with varroa and treatment might be too late. [/QUOTE]


    He said he treated, so, theoretically, varroa should be way down. He also has eggs and brood that's okay, so I'd say there is hope yet.

    RE AFB: evolves into a brown crud(?) at the bottom of the cell. Also it smells foul, and can be tested for with a twig. Stick the twig in the goop, pull it out slowly to see. If the stuff 'ropes' and remains connected to the twig, that's a pretty sure sign.

    The pics I saw did not look like AFB, fwiw.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Need advice on brood pattern

    Quote Originally Posted by Kcnc1 View Post
    I went back in today and below are some clearer photos. I did see abnormal larva.
    Awesome, you are learning.

    Based on the pics we can rule out AFB. Also, many of the affected larvae are post pupal, but EFB kills them pre pupal.

    My money is on mites. Kcnc1, can you describe how you have the apivar strips placed, ie, brood each side of them, or what. There is still a heavy infestation and I would not take those strips out on Sept 2nd. If the strips are placed wrong, they may be partially expended and new ones may need to be placed.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  19. #18

    Default Re: Need advice on brood pattern

    Looks like a "mite" hive.
    If possible this time of year and with your climate and considering density, take out all the capped brood, decap, wash out with a spraying can so you can use the combs again and the queen can go on laying.
    Leave the open brood and then treat if you must, but I donīt know about treatments with open brood present.

    I had a hive looking like that and having chalk brood too.The darker pupae munched out were chalk brood mummies. The whiter pupae were mite virus pupae. Look at the ground in front of the entrance in the morning.
    If in this progressed state there must be some defect bees crawling around or some defect pupae carried out.
    Look at the combs if you see bees that are too weak to hatch and die with their tongue out. Even if there are only few itīs a late state of the disease.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Need advice on brood pattern

    Yes, look for bees walking on the ground out front and emerging bees stuck (head first) out of their cell with their tongue sticking out. Mites.
    Somebody forgot to give my bees a copy of the book.
    Zone 6B

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Need advice on brood pattern

    Crafter. i did order the E FB test, told you wrong.

    Modem, Oldtimer and Siwolke. I did an alcohol wash in mid July and came up with 5 mites per 300. Placed Apivar in late July 2 per brood chamber ( 4 total). When placed they were next to brood, but it's been a cycle and I didn't note that yesterday or today. I will check tomorrow. They are in the chamber and near with many bees interacting and I know that's how it gets distributed. I saw no dead partially emerged brood. I will check tomorrow morning for pupae or bees on the ground. But because of your comments I'll do another alcohol wash tomorrow to see if the Apivar is not working.

    Enjambres. Thank you for the good advice. I will test and find out, and then hopefully NOT have to learn how to take care of it.

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