Problem in brood nest
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Saint Anthony, Idaho
    Posts
    52

    Default Problem in brood nest

    Does anyone have any advice? This package arrived around the first of June. They were stressed and have struggled ever since. Their colony hasn't grown much and they've hardly built any comb. Now I'm seeing what looks to me like drone egg/larva in worker cells, spotty brood pattern, and dry elongated pupa laying against the side of the cell. I don't know if they have a disease or if there just aren't enough workers to take care of the brood. I was going to requeen the colony. Any advice on that or knowledge about these pictures? Thank you!

    drone egg in worker cell.jpgdry elongated pupa.jpgdry looking pupa laying against side of cell.jpgspotty brood pattern.jpguncapped white pupa.jpg

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    4,971

    Default Re: Problem in brood nest

    Looks like European Foulbrood.
    Frank

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    wilmington,nc
    Posts
    49

    Default

    I would suggest getting a state inspector to look at the colony or a seasoned mentor. Looks like European foul brood which can clear up on its own if the colony is strong enough and has feed. Antibiotics or requeening are two more options and boosting the population with nurse bees from another colony. Confirming EFB before treating with meds is the best route to go.

  5. #4

    Default Re: Problem in brood nest

    Check for varroa mites.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Parrottsville TN
    Posts
    254

    Default Re: Problem in brood nest

    Thanks for this. I have the same problem in one hive that was started late. Spotty brood, dead (but white) pupa in cells and dry looking. Fortunately, we requeened, began feeding and are treating for mites.
    Hope this fixes it!

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    4,646

    Default Re: Problem in brood nest

    Send a sample to the lab it's free.

    Seems lots of packages are coming down with EFB this year;

    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/...nalCode=tjar20

    Pictures, link and lots of good information;

    https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...83#post1618983

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Lumpkin County, GA
    Posts
    873

    Default Re: Problem in brood nest

    I read that EFB can also be corrected by requeening. If she has a spotty brood problem, she is petering out anyway, so you may as well kill two birds with one stone.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    4,971

    Default Re: Problem in brood nest

    Quote Originally Posted by ericweller View Post
    I read that EFB can also be corrected by requeening. If she has a spotty brood problem, she is petering out anyway, so you may as well kill two birds with one stone.
    Re queening? i wish that it was a simple as that. A spotty brood problem MAY be caused by a queen who is running out of sperm but I think there are quite a few other circumstances that can present with scattered brood even from a queen who is laying like a hero!

    I am not busting chops here, but I have not been reading much in the way of simple, sure fire ways of getting rid European Foulbrood. That is with the exception of getting all new comb, extensive sanitizing of other equipment, and rolling the dice that it does not return anyways.

    As flowerplanter commented, there seems to be a lot more cases of EFB this last year. I think that perhaps many cases previously went un-diagnosed though. Regular prophylactic tetracycline treatment spring and fall used to be routine in many areas. This camouflaged AFB as well as EFB but new regulations prohibit that now.

    This has been an informative but not very happy experience for me.
    Frank

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,536

    Default Re: Problem in brood nest

    Send a comb away for testing, or send for a couple of the Veto EFB field lab tests do the test yourself. They cost about $13/ ea and I would get two in case you mess up the first one.

    I doubt they give any false positives, though I had one colony this summer which tested negative, before a second test gave a positive result. Since I had EFB last year, and readily recognized the symptoms I was a bit non-plussed by the first test, so I waited a couple of days and repeated it.

    EFB is not simple or easy to clear out of your apiary, but knowing that you have it allows you to take effective steps to curtail its expansion among your hives. Sticking your head in the sand and hoping things get better (sometimes the symptoms abate when the conditions change, including changing out your queen) often is suggested as a solution but it does not remove the infectious material from your combs and equipment so your risk of repeated infections is very high, even if you hit them with antibiotics. The antibiotics clean it out of the current nurse bee cohort's guts, so the hive can recover and start to mature brood again. But it doesn't clean up the contamination on the interior of the colony. Only time (18 months or more of being stored away from the bees), fire (scorching with a torch), or 15 kGrays of irradiation will do that, as far as I know.


    I wouldn't mess around: test, so you'll know for sure and can act on the results.

    Good luck!

    Nancy

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    creek county oklahoma
    Posts
    171

    Default Re: Problem in brood nest

    Does storing in the freezer count? I used to work in a microbiology lab. We stored some bacteria strains in the freezer to increase viability time. Freezing may kill some species of bacteria, so I don't know about EFB. I am nervous about reusing combs stored in a freezer. Of course, with frost-free freezers, the freeze-thaw cycles could hurt the bacteria, especially in a comb which would dry out, as opposed to bacteria in a preservation medium. Our lab storage freezers were not frost free, for that reason.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,536

    Default Re: Problem in brood nest

    Pgayle,

    I have a reference book at home that will answer that question for you. The 18-month quarantine period is for room temperature, dry storage.

    Absent any known infectious problem storing comb in the freezer poses no threat. I wrap each frame with a very clingy kind of plastic wrap (I can get the name of the brand, if you need it), then seal bundles of them in vac bags for long-term storage. And then store them in my conventional-defrost, below 0F chest freezer. They emerge pristine, whether empty, with honey or pollen stores.

    Of course, I never store EFB frames in the freezer, as those get either scraped and irradiated, or just irradiated, depending on whether they were used for EFB-affected brood areas, or just for honey storage. And any less than perfectly drawn comb is just scraped - why bother irradiating something that isn't in great condition to begin with?

    Having lab skills, including skill in use of a microscope is a big boon for a beekeeper. I wish I had that training, even basic lab skills, as there are lots of interesting things I could explore. You're lucky!

    Nancy

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    4,646

    Default Re: Problem in brood nest

    Quote Originally Posted by ericweller View Post
    I read that EFB can also be corrected by requeening. If she has a spotty brood problem, she is petering out anyway, so you may as well kill two birds with one stone.
    Very rarely does this work by itself. Many here have tried (without antibiotic) what usually happens is the hive will continue with EFB with the new queen then shorty after abscond or crash from beetles. The bacteria remains in bee's gut for at least several weeks shown in the above study (that's exactly what packages are; bees with a new queen), it remains on comb for 1.5 years. But under certain conditions it may disappear, a strong flow may delay or postpone EFB, also the disease may not be as prolific during the summer, fall and winter, along with other environmental factors.

    Here's something you can bank on; Almost every time someone complains about a queen with a spotty pattern (that's not a drone layer) it's EFB after lab confirmation.

    Quote Originally Posted by pgayle View Post
    Does storing in the freezer count? I used to work in a microbiology lab. We stored some bacteria strains in the freezer to increase viability time. Freezing may kill some species of bacteria, so I don't know about EFB. I am nervous about reusing combs stored in a freezer. Of course, with frost-free freezers, the freeze-thaw cycles could hurt the bacteria, especially in a comb which would dry out, as opposed to bacteria in a preservation medium. Our lab storage freezers were not frost free, for that reason.
    Freezing is how Dr. White stored his EFB inoculant used to infect hives, this seemed to preserve the bacteria for quit some time. He also tested temp and duration, (see his studies I have posted many times) I believe higher temp for longer duration seems to eliminate the bacteria quicker. IMO Infected comb/honey/pollen that remains frozen adds to the time the disease is still viable.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: Problem in brood nest

    {Freezing is how Dr. White stored his EFB inoculant used to infect hives, this seemed to preserve the bacteria for quit some time.}

    Freezing under correct conditions preserves microbes indefinitely. Conditions are buffered media(food) 20% glycerol and minus 80F. The glycerol prevents crystallization. A common freezer frost proof or not would limit viability. Frost prof freezers cycle the temp, as already stated, and a constant cold temp is required.

    There are some very intelligent answers on this post, I am a microbiologist, retired and basically all relevant knowledge of EFB has been posted above. There is not much I can add.

    I would like to know about the irradiation thing. How does one possess such equipment. Yes in a research Lab I understand, but in a common household I would be bewildered as well as impressed.

    EFB is contagious parasite of honey bees and should not be taken litely. Treating with antibiotics presents a dispersion/dose issue. Often the queen dies of overdose as her diet is much greater, she eats a lot more than a comm bee.

    Best if I reframe on the specifics of how I would deal with such an organism. The organism, EFB would be eliminated though.

    Ms. Nancy your post(s),, well,,,I consider you to be a smart beekeeper. Actually there are lots of intelligent folks in this forum.

    My friend lil John, suggested this forum to me, He is a true master, organic chemist, he is and sharp with the honey bee understanding.
    Blessings

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