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  1. #21

    Default Re: EFB options

    Instructions in case of brood diseases in Finland:
    It is not allowed to use antibiotics in beekeeping. In case of EFB the use of antibiotics is also considered unnecessary and harmfull. EFB does not make spores and the main cause is colony stress.

    Usually a colony with minor EFB outbreak will survive by itself, only give time to heal.
    Serious outbreak will need about the same procedure as AFB.

    In a small outbreak of AFB (just couple infected larvae): shaking bees to clean frames, and feeding with sugar.
    Serious AFB: burning frames and bees, disinfection of boxes (flaming, Virkon S solution wash).

    Sometimes EFB and AFB are hard to distinguish. Even laboratories have sometimes difficulties, because EFB bacteria grows so wildly, and there are so many different forms of it, that it can cover other, possible AFB, bacteria.

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  3. #22
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    Default Re: EFB options

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    thanks deb, that link was provided in post #12.

    have you experienced efb yet?
    oops
    Proverbs 16:24

  4. #23
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    Default Re: EFB options

    It seems that some sources can rightfully claim that EFB was/is easy to control. Now it appears to be coming to light that there are many different strains of the disease, some of which definitely are more virulent and persistant; easier to initiate and longer surviving on comb.

    Up until about a year ago the ease of obtaining OxyTet and similar antibiotics and their use to routinely treat hives may have kept a lot of EFB (and AFB) hidden. I think there should be a lot more emphasis and awareness, esp. for new beekeepers and also many who have years in the business when the disease was rare and easily swept under the rug.

    EFB is quite easy to spot when it is active but not so easy to identify at times when there is no brood. In other words easy to miss on a dead out. I am not sure yet about my diagnosis of suffocation by snow and dead bees blocking entrances. Could be EFB prevented the start of normal mandatory spring broodup. So far just storing those hives.

    I have several nucs on order that I will set up on new equipment and watch them carefully.
    Frank

  5. #24
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    Default

    Lots of good info here. Thanks.
    I caught a whiff of smell coming from this hive the day before that concerned me. When I got the chance the next day, I put on the veil and brought the smoker and hive tool out. First frame showed dead developing larvae slumped down in the cells. There were scattered capped cells with apparently normal capping, not sunken at all. I grabbed a stic and tried the stick test on 7 or 8 and the contents of the normal cells came out milky white and not stringy at all. The dead open larvae also didn’t make the string. Quite a number of the dead larvae looked fairly mature and had that head up canoe shape I’ve read about with sac brood. Now I’m not as sure which I have, so I need to send in a sample. In the mean time,I’m going to shake them into a nuc and bag the combs and frames into the freezer, probably will end up burning them.
    As soon as I got done inspecting, I carried my smoker back to the garage with the hive tool, washed my hands thoroughly (I inspect bare hand), scorched the hive tool and wiped the smoker down with alcohol (once it was out, because boom!)
    Now I’ve got to clean all my cutout equipment even more thoroughly. Fortunately I haven’t done another yet. I usually bag cutout combs into the freezer then set them out in late summer to let the robbers clean it up. That bag is going right in my next fire.
    Mistakes are the best taechers

  6. #25
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    Default Re: EFB options

    Quote Originally Posted by Beebeard View Post
    Now I’m not as sure which I have, so I need to send in a sample.
    in alabama the state apiarist will come and collect samples and analyze them in the state lab for free.

    you can mail samples to the usda bee lab in beltsville, maryland and they will analyze them for free.

    you can purchase a field testing kit from a bee supplier, for example:

    https://www.mannlakeltd.com/efb-euro...brood-test-kit
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  7. #26
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    Default Re: EFB options

    Quote Originally Posted by Beebeard View Post
    Lots of good info here. Thanks.
    I caught a whiff of smell coming from this hive the day before that concerned me. When I got the chance the next day, I put on the veil and brought the smoker and hive tool out. First frame showed dead developing larvae slumped down in the cells. There were scattered capped cells with apparently normal capping, not sunken at all. I grabbed a stic and tried the stick test on 7 or 8 and the contents of the normal cells came out milky white and not stringy at all. The dead open larvae also didn’t make the string. Quite a number of the dead larvae looked fairly mature and had that head up canoe shape I’ve read about with sac brood. Now I’m not as sure which I have, so I need to send in a sample. In the mean time,I’m going to shake them into a nuc and bag the combs and frames into the freezer, probably will end up burning them.
    As soon as I got done inspecting, I carried my smoker back to the garage with the hive tool, washed my hands thoroughly (I inspect bare hand), scorched the hive tool and wiped the smoker down with alcohol (once it was out, because boom!)
    Now I’ve got to clean all my cutout equipment even more thoroughly. Fortunately I haven’t done another yet. I usually bag cutout combs into the freezer then set them out in late summer to let the robbers clean it up. That bag is going right in my next fire.
    Sacbrood is a virus that kills brood. It may appear at any time during the brood-rearing season. It does not usually cause severe losses. Managing treatment:
    • Requeen with a new queen; or preferred hygienic stock.
    • Replace heavily infected comb with fresh drawn comb or foundation.
    • Maintain strong, healthy colonies
    This was from one of my virus booklets.
    Proverbs 16:24

  8. #27
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    Default Re: EFB options

    SP, I have not had EFB or AFB in more years than I can count, but dealt with both in the past. EFB is easily cleared with oxytetracycline. Fortunately, most bees will eliminate EFB on their own if given time. I treated EFB with Oxy about 30 years ago and requeened the colonies. There were no recurrences.

    The $65000 question is where did it come from. EFB can be brought in with infected equipment. It is far more likely that a nearby beekeeper had a colony collapse with disease that your bees robbed out.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  9. #28
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    Default Re: EFB options

    I usually get one or two cases of EFB a year. Last year I had 8, this year 7 and counting. It may be that a nearby infected and neglected apiary caused the big breakout last year. This year I think the bees got at equipment bagged for sterilization (rats had chewed holes in the bags, and the sterilization facility only allows small beekeepers a few days in spring) in late winter. I removed the equipment right away but I think the damage was done: I had hoped that 6 months and a few hard freezes would have meant the robbing did no harm, but alas it seems I was wrong. This experience suggests that at least locally we have a pretty durable strain of EFB around.

    I have over the years done the medicate-shook swarm-medicate protocol. While it is usually successful, it is not always successful. And the colonies are so set back they take all season to recover. So....since that method requires medication that is now hard to obtain, and was always expensive, and a set of new equipment, and the bees really struggle to rebuild....I now euthanize once I get a positive Vita Life test kit result; it is important to prevent spread.

    Euthanasia with a big bottle of rubbing alcohol when all the bees are home and in cluster (night) is quick and as merciful as it gets.

    I have not found that EFB just clears up by itself, in a flow, when the bees are fed etc. It just gets worse and worse and spreads. I know some Canadian researchers were looking at samples last year to see if there are different strains. I suspect there are tougher types of EFB around these days.

    Countries with low foulbrood rates practice no tolerance for the condition, euthanizing affected colonies and destroying/sterilizing all equipment. That may weed out "poor genetics" but I think we are wrong to place too much blame on the bees. The larger benefit is that euthanasia and equipment burning/sterilization reduces the available pool of foulbrood to be passed around.

  10. #29
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    Default Re: EFB options

    i appreciate the feedback dar. i suspect the efb originated from nearby imported colonies that became deadout under the care of beginning beekeepers but i have no way to know for sure.


    Quote Originally Posted by WesternWilson View Post
    And the colonies are so set back they take all season to recover...

    I have not found that EFB just clears up by itself, in a flow...

    I know some Canadian researchers were looking at samples last year to see if there are different strains. I suspect there are tougher types of EFB around these days.
    i was very surprised to see how quickly the population of strong overwintered colonies became depleted even though were were having an excellent flow and they were building up very nicely coming out of winter. most were not worth trying to save by the time i got my field tests and antibiotics in.

    so far:

    8 colonies euthanized

    3 colonies moved to isolated 'hospital' yard and...

    1 colony shook swarmed but absconded prior to being given terramycin

    1 colony shook swarmed and given terramycin, already dwindled badly but treated as more of an experiment to check for antibiotic resistance

    1 colony is recovering without treatment and the last capped brood frame is showing improvement from less than half the cells reaching capping stage to over 80% capped.


    hopefully the u.s. and canada will adopt and make available efb typing which appears to have a lot to do with guiding the course of action in the u.k. as seen in the video linked above.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  11. #30
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    Default Re: EFB options

    I have not found that EFB just clears up by itself, in a flow, when the bees are fed etc. It just gets worse and worse and spreads
    yep... that was my experience as well, old vs new I guess.
    My it took me a while to see it, my bees are fairly hygienic so sick larva was being removed, the hives just didn't take off and build up... by the time I knew what was up it seems to have gotten in the cell builder...
    My TF roots boned me, all the "old" advice was really appealing... I tried waiting for the flow to get better, then shook swarming, etc. Antibiotic was a line I swore I never would cross,(but like mite treatments, I did) but when I did it was much later than was good for my bees, I lost/put down a lot of hives and I ended up taking huge winter losses.

    EFB is a bit of an odd duck, hygienic behavior is ineffective against it, and in fact, Hygienic stocks tend to be EFB susceptible, something to think about in terms of VSH and selecting for mite resistance.

  12. #31

    Default Re: EFB options

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    yep... that was my experience as well, old vs new I guess.
    Hygienic stocks tend to be EFB susceptible, something to think about in terms of VSH and selecting for mite resistance.
    Maybe it is EFB that I have had all these years, and not AFB. Sort of dissapointing…

    It is just that awfull smell, which is not sour, it is much worse, which has said to me this must be AFB. When trying to make the stick test, it usually is not at all sticky, but of course everything rotting and wet organic material is somewhat sticky. I don’t know. But as I said, the smell is something that I have made up my mind years ago: this is AFB. And that there usually are some sunken, usually more like torn apart and broken, capped larvae cells in the late phase of this disease.

    Once I posted one or two honey samples to a field survey and when the results came I remember the advisor told me that there is no AFB in my honey but “EFB is growing so wildly that Iīm really surprised if you donīt have some serious problems!” Which I didnīt. He added that sometimes in these situations the EFB bacteria growth overruns the growth of AFB. But again, maybe it was only EFB.

    The EFB has become more aggressive if this really is EFB what I have had, one or two hives every year so long I can remember. I have shaken them to clean combs, given food frames from clean hives, that’s all. One of the biggest beekeepers in Finland, Mesimestari (who actually has now sold all his hives and concentrating in packaging honey and selling equipment) had to buy ozone treatment machinery to clean combs. So bad was his situation with EFB.

    It is well known that acetic acid kills EFB bacteria, too. Didnīt know anything about ozone.

    When lecturing or writing I have very openly told other beekeepers about having foul brood problems in my beekeeping. Often have I gotten that comment that Iīm putting too much stress on my bees, foul brood disease and no mite treatments. Many have considered that a combination impossible to win.

    Maybe the fact that we have in Finland the worst foul brood situation in whole Europe has been an advantage to me, maybe bees in Finland have some resistance towards these diseases.
    As I have told many times, there are several beekeepers saying that my bees have good resistance towards brood disease. Knowing how many years I have had it, Iīm not at all surprised if there was some truth in these comments. I even have used some sick hives to build queen cells. Some rot, some survive.

  13. #32
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    Default Re: EFB options

    I also am coming to the opinion that a lot of the old "expert" wisdom about EFB, either doesn't hold up anymore or or only was valid when a large share of the managed bee population in the US was routinely treated with antibiotics, even in the absence of symptoms, or maybe was never true. I don't know.

    Knock on wood, I have so far seemed to have left it behind, this year. But at huge cost to my hive count (I am down to only four colonies), and to my pocketbook after buying multiple sets of brand new equipment, and endless hours of extra work and worry since it first appeared here three years ago. And I did treat, finally.

    Although we blame varroa for nearly every problem these days (with good reason) I think the varroa crisis may be obscuring co-existing, perhaps now increasing, problems with EFB. In my yard, I control varroa with intensive monitoring and pro-active - not reactive - treatment. (Though the work of intensive monitoring buys me the chance to treat fewer times per year and still get excellent control.) So, perhaps the EFB issue is more visible.

    I think I am going to give acetic acid treatment (for the equipment) a try this summer, since I have been unable to organize a trip to a gamma radiation facility that uses 15KGrays.

    If I am truly past the crisis, I will be making increase this year - which I have not done in four years - as I am down to just one colony apiece in two of my four long-running queenlines, having lost one queen line (of my original four) entirely.

    EFB sucks!

    Nancy

  14. #33
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    Default Re: EFB options

    At the Missouri spring conference this year, I attended a class regarding EFB.

    They recommended a shook swarm onto new frames. Then a few days later doing it again. Said that the bacteria could live in honey stored in the honey stomachs and be transferred to the new frames. The idea was that any honey would be used to start building comb the first time. As soon as the second shook swarm was done, to begin a feeding, I believe with antibiotics. All used equipment should then be burned, including the first set of shook swarm equipment.
    Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20...
    After the fact, I always know what didn't work.

  15. #34
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    Default Re: EFB options

    Quote Originally Posted by Bdfarmer555 View Post
    At the Missouri spring conference this year, I attended a class regarding EFB.

    They recommended a shook swarm onto new frames. Then a few days later doing it again. Said that the bacteria could live in honey stored in the honey stomachs and be transferred to the new frames. The idea was that any honey would be used to start building comb the first time. As soon as the second shook swarm was done, to begin a feeding, I believe with antibiotics. All used equipment should then be burned, including the first set of shook swarm equipment.
    The really scary part is that the reservoir of disease may not even be in your own apiary! If it is being brought in from surrounding bees, either feral or managed colonies, it puts you on a treadmill.

    To do the most assured eradication method of the double shakedown involving destroying two sets of new equipment, would be very costly. If you also had to buy new bees it would be prohibitively expensive for many people. Without assurance that it would even be successful it could surely dampen your enthusiasm.

    I am down from 13, to 1 apparently health colony. I have a couple of nucs on order for a trial. This summer will decide whether I am out of beekeeping or not.
    Frank

  16. #35
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    Default Re: EFB options

    I think this thread is very timely. I will be keeping an eye out for this scourge. Euthanasia, equipment destruction will be my strategy. Luckily my bees and equipment are not so expensive.

    Some of our problems are proper isolation of equipment. I have plans to get a 40 ft container for unused boxes. Be real helpful to have to store contaminated boxes until they could be ionized or properly disposed of.

  17. #36
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    Default Re: EFB options

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    The really scary part is that the reservoir of disease may not even be in your own apiary! If it is being brought in from surrounding bees, either feral or managed colonies, it puts you on a treadmill.

    To do the most assured eradication method of the double shakedown involving destroying two sets of new equipment, would be very costly. If you also had to buy new bees it would be prohibitively expensive for many people. Without assurance that it would even be successful it could surely dampen your enthusiasm.

    I am down from 13, to 1 apparently health colony. I have a couple of nucs on order for a trial. This summer will decide whether I am out of beekeeping or not.
    I think feral bees would quickly develop resistance should a new efb type come through but for a while it would be miserable. I am interested to see how studied feral bees do should an disease outbreak like this hit them. They seem pretty resilient and recover quickly.

    Very sorry you have lost so many hives Frank. All these problems are transitory it seems, so I hope you keep a toe in it until the situation resolves itself. Know a keeper who quit after varroa hit, then made his way back into it.

  18. #37
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    Default Re: EFB options

    Why do you think those feral bees are so magical I hope you are right.

    Uncertainty makes a person jump at shadows. I still dont know for certain that I suffocated colonies last winter. Just failed to commence brood up. Something that killed the queens could give similar symptoms. No sign of laying workers but dont know whether that would happen with rapidly decreasing populations. With no larvae to examine a person loses his main evidence to assess EFB

    I also have one very weak colony that apparently has no queen to which I donated a frame with healty bees and all stages of eggs etc., to see what they will do with it re starting cells and will check to see if the brood continues healthy or shows slumpy discoloured EFB signs.

    If I am really lucky EFB signs wont develop. I will be happy then to know I goofed up and allowed them to suffocate. They appeared healthy going into winter and were strong until late winter: perhaps I did get rid of the EFB last season. If so I will be able to repopulate those hives I have stored away.

    I have a couple of Dadant deep frame hives built and an observation hive that I was looking forward to playing with. Such anticipation keeps us going!

    Like Nancy said "EFB sucks"!
    Frank

  19. #38
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    Default Re: EFB options

    Why do you think those feral bees are so magical I hope you are right.
    They aren't magical, but their level of genetic diversity is very high compared to the average commercial queen in the U.S. Genetic diversity gives them a better chance of having genetics to resist diseases.

    Hygienic stocks tend to be EFB susceptible
    I agree that previous testing seemed to indicate that hygienic bees were EFB susceptible, but it is not proven that there is a linkage between the traits. In other words, it is very likely that bees can be selected for both hygienic behavior and EFB resistance. This would be a very good question to investigate for a breeding program.

    We had problems with both AFB and EFB prior to the mass die off of bees in the late 1980's and early 1990's. As the number of colonies in an area decreased, disease problems disappeared. The only case of AFB I saw in that time frame was in 1997 near Gadsden Alabama when a friend asked me to check one of his colonies. It was heavily infected with AFB. We burned it that night. The colony had been purchased from a beekeeper near Albertville and was a recently established colony put into 20 year old equipment. I suspect the equipment had spores that infected the colony.

    Two things help with diseases, keeping fewer colonies per yard, and regular comb renewal. Comb renewal in particular is associated with healthier colonies of bees. This is one of the reasons I am renewing quite a few of my Dadant combs this year. The combs being renewed are from 2016 when I moved my bees into square Dadant equipment. I am not having to deal with a disease so the comb renewal is purely for preventive reasons. I expect to renew about 1/4 of the combs in my hives each year going forward. This is fairly easy to do with spring splits by letting each split build a few new combs while culling older combs. Brother Adam wrote that comb renewal is an important factor in disease prevention.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  20. #39
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    Default Re: EFB options

    Leroy, feral bees in the old days lived so far apart there was little drift between colonies. Any colony with brood disease would simply have struggled and died out. I expect the reason we have a lot of drift between bees in an apiary and between apiaries nearby is that bees never had to develop an ability to go home to a specific 1' window. The only colony for a mile or two was their own! See a colony = getting home....you just needed to be close-ish.

    But now we keep them in apiaries, and in my area we are close to banks of pollination bees in the nearby blueberry fields in summer and also in winter if they are guested on local fields as winter yards. Density = drift.

    This density drives the sharing of disease and pests. And alas, the pests and diseases can shift their genome far faster than bees do (and are not further challenged by the bees' multiple drone father reproduction strategy, which exerts a very strong pressure against fixing traits). Any kind of resistance you might breed into bees will push the pest/disease genome to a more successful strategy.

    Until the foulbrood vaccines (now in research and development) are available, the best defense against pests and disease is to limit their concentration in the bee landscape. This is why countries who practice rigourous euthanasia and equipment destruction/sterilization have low incidences of foulbrood. There ends up being a lot less disease to get around, and the appearance of foulbrood is time-limited, which time limits the opportunity for spread. They also control for mites, which apparently can vector EFB.

    I suspect the constant medication of bees to suppress foulbrood also drove the production of ever more resistant and virulent foulbroods. Bee shipping and mobile pollination help move those pathogens around?
    Last edited by WesternWilson; 05-10-2019 at 10:14 AM.

  21. #40
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    Default Re: EFB options

    Quote Originally Posted by Juhani Lunden View Post
    Maybe it is EFB that I have had all these years, and not AFB.
    Although I strongly advocate the use of test kits, I have found so far that it is very clear what you are looking at, maybe my local EFB and AFB are different, but FWIW:

    EFB: affects larvae PRE-capping...you see youngish larvae dry, yellowing and dying. Older larvae die and if old enough die twisted snout up against the side of the cell (the famous "tummy ache position"). They turn a dirty yellow-brown and quickly rot down into a grey-brownish gelatinous goo. The remains are not elastic and stringy. Scale looks golden brown like crispy fried chicken skin (hope you are not having dinner).

    AFB: affects larvae POST-capping. Capping looks rough, sunken, and/or often has ragged off-centre holes or cracks. Larvae dies and rots into a dark orange-brown snotty goo that strings out easily. Scale tends to be black-brown.

    Odour: there is none until the condition is catastrophically advanced and by that time has probably spread into nearby hives. Early detection through frequent inspections is critical in control.

    Brood Pattern: because the bees try to remove dead brood, you are left with a shotty brood pattern. Although that can also be a feature of a failing queen, the difference is in foulbrood the queen tries to re-lay up the empty cells, so you end up with brood of all ages mixed in that shotty frame. I see that now and my heart goes cold...and I immediately look for the dead and dying brood....and get out my test kits.

    Although I am pretty confident in what I am seeing, I also test with the Vita Life test kits. I cannot recommend them highly enough. They give you the confidence to quickly formulate an effective plan for swift remediation and containment of spread.

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