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  1. #81
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    Tried the stick test multiple times and it never came out ropy. The smell was closer to the acrid smell of a beetle slimed hive, but with a hint of rotten meat. It was a weird smell and I knew it couldn’t be good. I’ve had hives for 6 or 7 years and been through some ugly cutouts, this was something new to me. Looking online, it does look closer to sacbrood to me as well, but I will be testing regardless.
    It’s a bummer, but at the same time I’m glad for the experience as it will help me be a better beekeeper in the future.
    Mistakes are the best taechers

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  3. #82
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    Default Re: EFB options

    I agree it looks like sacbrood, why not manage the hive for sacbrood while you order an EFB test kit? Shook swarm onto clean equipment and requeen.

  4. #83
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    Default Re: EFB options

    EFB does NOT rope. That's only a sign for AFB.

    And in EFB any smell only occurs from the secondary bacteria growing on the dead larvae., which if your bees are still strong enough and attentive-enough will be remov Sadly, it is that good housekeeping trait which perpetuates the EFB as the nurse bees get contaminated cleaning out the dead, and even though they do not become sick from the contamination, they pass along contaminated brood food to a fresh crop of larvae, which keeps the cycle going.

    EFB sucks!

    Nancy

  5. #84
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    Default Re: EFB options

    Quote Originally Posted by WesternWilson View Post
    I agree it looks like sacbrood, why not manage the hive for sacbrood while you order an EFB test kit? Shook swarm onto clean equipment and requeen.
    Agree with that, too.

    For sacbrood:

    • Requeen with a new queen; or preferred hygienic stock.
    • Replace heavily infected comb with fresh drawn comb or foundation.
    • Maintain strong, healthy colonies.
    Western Catskill Mountains
    Proverbs 16:24

  6. #85
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    Default Re: EFB options

    i am now about a week into terramycin treatment for acute onset highly contagious colony collapsing efb. this kind of efb definitely sucks.

    in an earlier post i described starting one of two colonies removed to an isolation yard with the HCA-280 mixed 1/8 tsp into a quart until my order of terra-pro premixed powder from mann lake arrived.

    a few days later and after receiving the premix i went back and gave the powder to the both colonies at the isolation yard. by then the one colony with the medicated syrup had consumed about half of the quart, and i could already see improvement in larval health with no sick larvae seen.

    i went back today, five days after applying the premix powder to both hives, only to find that the premix powder had barely been touched by either of the two colonies, but the quart of terramycin syrup was almost gone.

    not only had the first treated colony consume most of that quart, but it had constructed 3/4 of a deep frame of new comb on a foundationless frame they were shook swarmed onto and had solid healthy open brood in it. there was also some brood getting capped on an adjacent frame of clean empty drawn comb next to and the capping pattern was solid.

    the colony having powder only for 5 days showed no improvement, not surprisingly since most of the powder was right where i left it.

    i now have 7 colonies on or about to start antibiotic treatment for acute onset colony collapsing EFB. All will be receiving both powdered and liquid terramycin for 2 - 3 weeks and shook swarm onto foundationless frames.

    We are about to enter a fairly prolonged dearth here so I will continue to keep some non-medicated syrup available until we see most of a 10 frame deep lang drawn out in new comb.

    in the meantime i hope to have my drawn supers irradiated to that they can be given back to these colonies, hopefully to get some honey for winter on the fall blooms.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  7. #86
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    Default Re: EFB options

    The irradiation treatment dose for EFB is 15 KiloGrays, not the 10 KiloGrays used for AFB. I realize that sounds backwards as we fear AFB more than EFB, but that's what I found when researching this for myself.

    I have been unsuccessful (so far) in organizing a gamma treatment for my gear, as the easiest one for me to participate in is only 10 KGrays. The higher dose makes for a more leaky (if there is honey in the combs) treatment, as well as being more expensive. As soon as I have a chance this summer, I am going to try the glacial acetic acid treatment on all of my spare equipment. Most of it has been out of contact with bees for more than 18 months (some as long as two years by now) so even if the acid doesn't work perfectly, time is now on my side.

    I am surprised about the Terra-Pro powder results. When I dosed my colonies, I started with powdered oxytet and mixed it with powdered sugar myself. Instructions were to make up a batch and divide it among the colonies. Being a belts-and-suspenders type of gal, I worked out the per hive dosing and made up each hive's meds separately. The oxytet, by itself, gets weird and clumpy, in time during storage, even when tightly resealed. I wonder if your Terra-Pro has gotten ineffective.

    I had to buy a drug-dealer's scale on Amazon to deal with the extremely small quantities of the Oxytet powder per colony. I measured by weight not by volume. I combined this with a weighed amount of powdered sugar. Sugar is just the carrier to be able to spread it around within the hive and to convince the nurse bees to eat it, I suspect. I sealed each dose up for transport to the yard in a tiny plastic food container. I only made up the mix on the day of the treatment.

    Then each colony got its dose shaken on it, using a cinnamon-sugar shaker I bought at a fancy food store. (I tried several shakers before finding the one that was just right.)

    Before I started treatment, I had gone in and marked all the brood frames, and lined them up in the center of each box. If there was an odd number, then I had more in the upper box than the lower one.

    Then when I shook the oxy/sugar mix down on each box I protected the brood frames in the center with a piece of clear plastic. Oxy (and maybe the sugar, too) is harmful to open larvae. (The clear plastic that I used was actually part of one of my styrofoam top feeders - the bent part that goes over the slot the bees come up into which keeps them from drowning.) At any rate, this allowed me to get the sugar on around the perimeter of the box (and the ends) without getting it on the brood itself. My bees readily gobbled up the sugar (or hauled it out - I'm sure some of both.) But enough must have found itself into the honey crops of the nurse bees so that they stopped propagating the problem while feeding new larvae. With fewer sickened larvae to be hauled out, the bacterial load eased and finally a healthy brood cycle got reestablished in most, but not all, of my colonies. Some got too far gone while I dithered. I got my oxy directly from a veterinary source.

    I have some pictures of me doing the shake showing how I did it, if there is any interest in seeing them. I think I have posted them before, but they are not on this laptop.

    I have also used (in another situation) a grease patty with oxy and sugar mixed in it for a colony that had no stores and very few bees.

    EFB sucks!

    Nancy

  8. #87
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    Default Re: EFB options

    There is a lot of published info showing that oxytetracycline should not be mixed into syrup "because it breaks down". Jim Tew published an article debunking this several years ago. OxyT works when delivered in a syrup, but it can be stored by the bees and could be removed by the beekeeper as "honey". To avoid this, oxyT should be mixed with powdered sugar and applied to the ends of the top bars above the brood nest.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  9. #88
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    Default Re: EFB options

    very good info dar. my efb infected colonies are dwindled down to less than a single deep's worth of bees and all of the supers have been removed. i am forcing them to draw new comb and don't believe there will be much storage until long after the antibiotic syrup has been discontinued.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  10. #89
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    Default Re: EFB options

    A few points:

    1. in Britain, where practice is IMHO of a higher standard than here (and helped by a really well informed and hands on British Beekeeping Association, great info on their resource pages and the BBKA Beginning Beekeeping handbook is the gold standard in bee books), they begin oxytetracycline (OTC) treatment with a dribble. The OTC is applied along each seam of bees. I like this method as it ensures the OTC is ingested promptly by everyone in the colony (this is done instead of the OTC in icing sugar on the top bars).

    2. While OTC does break down rapidly in syrup, and most rapidly if exposed to sunlight (so feeder should be protected from sunlight), you can just feed freshly prepared amounts daily to keep a fresh stream of OTC flowing through the house bees. So instead of giving the recommended dose in one feed, split it into thirds and feed over three days, mixing the day's ration fresh each time.

    3. While oxytetracycline does get into the stores and honey, it degrades steadily over time. I have an inquiry into the BBKA on their recommendation that all honey from treated colonies must be stored for 6 months before being sold/used for human consumption. I believe the 6 months is the time it takes for the OTC to degrade pretty completely, but they do not state that explicitly so I want a confirmation. But that would put to rest any concerns about OTC lingering in the stores/honey over time.

    4. I am always amazed at how quickly the brood clears with the OTC. The catch is: once you stop the medication, there must not be EFB contaminated comb, stores or equipment available to the bees or they will reinfect. So the old stacks you shook swarmed them from must be sterilized before re-use, which brings us to....

    5. I am pretty sure the irradiation advice is not to put bee bread and honey through the process as AFB spores tucked in the honey are not always sterilized/killed. So when you are sorting your infected equipment, any frames with honey/bee bread (all stores) have to go (preferably onto a burn pile).

    6. If you are having to disinfect your equipment yourself, read through the excellent and very throrough BBKA guide.

    7. Glacial acetic acid fumigation is effective for Nosema, wax moth and chalkbrood only. There is no evidence it is effective for the foulbroods, alas.

  11. #90
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    Default Re: EFB options

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post

    As for selecting for EFB resistance, that would be fairly easy to do empirically. Set up disease challenge experiments. One way it could be done non-destructively would be to capture a test population from each colony and challenge them with EFB to see which are least affected. Then breed from the colonies that have the best test results.
    I was going back over this interesting thread and want to comment on the above quote.

    There is a lot of "breed from the best colonies" chatter in the bee world. I don't mean to sound disparaging but I am very frustrated with this very simplistic statement, which is made without taking into account the clever honey bee reproductive strategy. Not just clever: blindingly brilliant.

    For most of us mammals, Mendelian genetics, where 1 mom and 1 dad contribute equal gene shares to each offspring, are in play. This is a very quick, predictable mode of genetic refinement = evolution. It also makes it really easy to stop certain "issues" as you have such a simple mode of gene transmission. It's either ma or pa.

    In honey bees, things get much more complex. We have one mum, up to 20+ dads, and the dads are from distant colonies. Worse, all the sons of a queen are products of her genetics only...so if mum is not in possession of a required gene packet, NONE of her boys will be either. Ack.

    So if we have at our disposal two colonies that display a given strength (low Varroa loads, or avoided foulbrood in an apiary where foulbrood was a problem, etc.)....in the absence of artificial insemination, our new queens fly far, far away to find multiple drone fathers. And even when you use AI, your chance of daddy contributing the required gene packet is only 50%.

    So for wild matings, it is going to be really hard to fix any given trait or perceived trait. The drone daddies just mix it up wayyyy too much. And remember, if you limit genetic diversity in the queen's matings ie. limit the number/genetic diversity of her mates, then you will reduce the ability of the colony to depend on genetic diversity amongst the worker bees to blunt the impact of any given stressor. Genetic diversity in the colony drives disease/pest/stressor resistance.

    For those reasons, breeding from what appear to be promising/superior colonies is a slow, multigenerational process at best and a hit or miss process at worst.

    In the case of breeding for bees that exhibit desirable qualities (great spring buildup, high lay rates), you can take some years to try to gradually fix an improved line.

    In the case of breeding for critical traits (foulbrood resistance in the face of constant infected drift bees/robbing infected colonies...or Varroa proof-ness) you have to get it right first time out or the queen in question and her colony gets sick/infested and fails. End of experiment.

    In short, for any condition of critical importance, we are asking a lot and probably too much of the bee genome to shift radically and permanently in the desired direction. Bees do not follow the simple Mendelian genetic pattern! Don't ask them to: eons of time have allowed them to choose a different strategy. It is not their fault, or their genome's fault, that they are geared to eons of time, not months of time, to react to environmental pressures.

    The extinctions, all too common, of organisms who do fit the more malleable and predictable Mendelian patterns, should warn us not to ask too much, too quickly, of honey bees.

  12. #91
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    Default Re: EFB options

    Valid points, but nonetheless, I believe my statement is still correct. Intense selection pressure produces rapid change in any organism including honeybees. The Achilles heel of this statement is that intense selection pressure also dramatically reduces genetic diversity.

    I would never expect such a breeding program to be set up by an amateur beekeeper. It would take several years to achieve useful results and then only in the hands of a dedicated and knowledgeable beekeeper with a lot of resources.

    Some work has already been done on EFB resistance so it is not like starting from scratch. One of the resistance mechanisms found was that EFB resistant bees produce more bactericidal brood food. Another mechanism speculated but not proven is that resistant colonies are less likely to accept drifting bees from neighboring colonies.

    Any change in genetics, particularly when that change modifies the behavior of bees, has a metabolic price to be paid. This would be a significant consideration with honeybees bred for EFB resistance just as breeding for hygienic behavior extracts a price. What would be the metabolic price of selecting for EFB resistance?
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  13. #92
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    Default Re: EFB options

    it's a few years old, but here's a good review paper:

    https://www.bijenhouders.nl/files/Bi...sgren-2010.pdf
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  14. #93
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    Default Re: EFB options

    The advantage nature has is that selection is universal across the whole population. So it is frustrating that one beekeeper can select but the neighbors do not. This is why kept bees are in such poor health.

    As the arnot bees have shown, the multiple mating thing has the great benefit of keeping genetic diversity in spite of a strong selection pressure. None the less, the bees adapted to mites. I see no reason for it to be different for any other brood disease. When Britian had a 0 tolerance for efb, essentially applying a strong selection pressure across the population, the incidence of efb was at its lowest level. Start applying treatments, and the incidence is higher and it becomes a problem. A major problem in beekeeping is the lack of universal selection along with the continual introduction of new challenges to our populations.

  15. #94
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    Default Re: EFB options

    I think we have to be very careful in an examination of that issue Leroy. Ye olde "correllation vs causation" issue. In the Arnot, Seeley has changed his message. At first it was widely thought the mites had changed not the bees. And since the mite genome shifts much more quickly in response to pressure, it will shift again in response to whatever changes we foster in the bees. I think that is a dead end no matter how well we engineer the bees. We need to address the mite genome instead.

    Britain's willingness to promote quarantine and euthanasia is not likely doing any selecting to the bee genome as many foulbrood affected colonies are treated. What their policy does accomplish is shrinking the available pool of foulbrood to be passed along. They also experience far less mixing of bees in giant pollination jamborees like the California almond orchards, where so many bees meet, exchange pests and diseases, and then return to all corners of the continent. Ack.

    However this exchange is veering into tough and divisive territory. We were focused on what to do about EFB/AFB in our own apiaries. Medication and shook swarms, and isolation from other bees remain our best options. But I sure hope research on foulbrood vaccines proceeds rapidly...

  16. #95
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    Default Re: EFB options

    Quote Originally Posted by WesternWilson View Post
    We need to address the mite genome instead.
    Yesss!!

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  17. #96
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    Default Re: EFB options

    In systems theory selection is a central principle. We have seen it over and over again in all sorts of systems. A new problem, followed by a genetic shift. Most beekeepers still think they are not part of the natural world and these things don't apply to them and find all sorts of excuses not to take it into consideration. An argument with Darwin is not easily won.

    I think the Arnot bees show an interesting baseline. The relative lack of brood disease as also associated with mite resistance. The myth that only one thing can be done at a time. Nature doesn't care and will obliterate colonies not up to snuff. Isolation of contaminants is not possible in this situation, though density of colonies is lower. I'm sure if you weaken a colony in that situation it will get robbed out and any contamination spread. Look how fast mites spread when first introduced to this system. Its not that I think that disease and mortality events don't occur in these systems, but rather regulation through natural selection rapidly brings the system back to equilibrium.

    On the comment that mites, or viruses, or bacteria change faster than hosts, therefore the host has no chance. This is only a surface analysis We are all doomed if this is the case. Rather there are structural aspects to our organization (and pathogens as well) that allows us to persist in the face of pathogens that can change much faster than we can. But we don't see this doomed race as a general feature of systems. Something else we don't understand very well is afoot. Complexity theory offers some interesting but not really tested ideas about this.

    It used to be thought that feral colonies were disease reservoirs and they were to be gotten rid of. I think the shoe is on the other foot now. We are the cause of most of our problems and we put disease pressure on feral systems.

    But now we have the tools to actually show genetic shifts with selection events. DNA analysis on bees before, during and after disease outbreaks will probably show that these shifts occur. So long as we use selection as a big part of our arsenal.

  18. #97
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    Default Re: EFB options

    Link to very detailed description and pictures on EFB identification at various stages and secondary infections. A very comprehensive pair of articles.

    https://www.vita-europe.com/beehealt...foulbrood-efb/
    https://beeinformed.org/2013/04/05/e...dentification/
    Frank

  19. #98
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    Default Re: EFB options

    many thanks for the links frank. excellent thread here.

    quite a few good comments made over the last week or two that i want to respond to as well as update on the status of my efb epidemic here.

    hopefully get some time to do that over the holiday weekend.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  20. #99
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    Default Re: EFB options

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    a copy of the email i sent to beltsville this am...
    (see post #50)

    the answers received from beltsville today:

    "1. I see that in the U.K. MLST is being performed on isolates from the VITA test kits to determine the sequence type and to some degree suggesting a course of action for remediation. Is anything like being done here in the U.S.?

    With Dr.Kirk Anderson (copied) we hope there will be an assessment of virulent strains of EFB in he future, to date the recommendations for antibiotic use are consistent regardless of the identified strain and we might assume that symptomatic larvae are the defining trait of virulence, as with strains of the AFB agent.

    2. Does Beltsville test positive EFB samples sent to it for resistance and sensitivity to Terramycin?

    3. I was surprised to learn that melissococcus plutonius can survive in honey and on comb for quite a long time and exposure to it can result in new infections. Are you able to confirm that this is happening based on your experience with the samples sent in for processing at the Bee Research Lab?

    I would say yes to weeks, not years, but this is really for the bulk of bacteria. Naturally, there must be some living or non-living site that maintains M.plutonius when brood are absent (seasonally or in deadouts) but I do not know of any firm tests of viability for more than a few weeks in hive substrates/honey. That will be useful information.

    4. After euthanizing the colonies I brought in the equipment to include quite a few honey supers of drawn comb most of which had not been filled with new honey yet. I have washed this comb with mild pressure from the garden hose, use an air compressor to dry it, and then applied a spray of 3% bleach. Is it possible to have this comb sampled to see if it still holds melissococcus plutonius?

    yes we can culture from this comb if you send it

    5. I am currently speaking with a gentleman who has an adjunct position at Alabama A & M University in Huntsville. He is involved with their irradiation lab. I am interested in having all of the equipment irradiated, but it doesn’t look like that facility is going to work for this application. Are you aware of any industrial irradiation facilities (other than Sterigenics in New Jersey) that offer sterilization of bee equipment?

    We have used Sterix (maybe same as in NJ but we used North Carolina) and they are good, but pricey...likely more than hive bodies/frames are worth, unfortunately. Your bleach method can likely have the same efficacy in my opinion

    and in another response from beltsville:

    Thanks **** and all, yes EFB is definitely resurgent. As for sterilizing equipment, would Dr. **** consider an ethylene oxide chamber? This was used as a norm for treating foulbrood suspect frames in Maryland but is no longer in use. We did a commercial trial with ETO vs. gamma irradiation and fond the former was better at sterilizing. There are permitting issues as it is a biohazard but overall the regulatory and cost hurdles seem less than irradiation.
    I just sent a note on your other questions, re the virulence of EFB strains, you might loop in our colleague Dr. Kirk Anderson with USDA-Tucson ([email protected]), who is keen on typing strain types with virulence in the hive.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  21. #100
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    Default Re: EFB options

    @Squarepeg:

    Thanks for posting some of your correspondence with Beltsville.

    It is my understanding that Sterigenics -the place in NJ used by the Montgomery County (PA) Beekeepers Assoc. - has a facility in FL which does a fair amount of bee equipment irradiation. Certainly much closer to you, than NJ.

    The idea that it is expensive rests on the fact that they require a minimum of 7 pallets (priced per pallet at less than $200) to do a run of bee equipment. A pallet can hold up to 1500 lbs and in volume is about the same as 42 deep boxes (including frames within. No metal (except for nails/staples). So telescoping covers and metal Qu Ex are a problem. (Metal blocks the gamma rays.) Part of the cost of a run is that the materials to be treated must be "mapped", i.e. their density must be determined ahead of time so that an effective, penetrating, dose can be calibrated. Pallets of assorted stacked up bee stuff may have an uneven density (empty boxes vs boxes with frames of drawn comb, perhaps with some honey vs empty boxes with bases and inner covers sleeved inside, etc.) There is a charge for this mapping at facilities that don't already have this info from prior runs. The other issue is the need for the bee equipment to be "packaged" in such a way that honey doesn't leak out all over the facility. The instructions for how the PA beekeepers prepare their pallets are on their website. If honey leaks, I believe there may be an additional cleaning charge - as you might imagine.

    And of course, from a bee "public health" point of view, you must secure (cover/seal up) the stacks in such a way so that they arrive and may be held for the scheduled run, in order that local bees cannot be drawn to the equipment, and thus spread the infection to them.

    So you have the minimum # of pallets and the mapping costs. Beyond that the cost is dose dependent with EFB being more expensive than AFB (Go, figure!) based on Australian research that requires 15 KiloGrays rather than the 10 KiloGrays that effectively kill of AmericanFB, Nosema, etc.

    ETO is another possibility but I understand there are some toxicity problems with it. Sterigenics does that, too, in a facility near me, but they were very discouraging about its use for bee equipment.

    I plan to try acetic acid exposure this summer, but it is interesting that your lab feels that simple time may also be effective. My contaminated gear has been out of service for nearly 1.5 to 2 years now. That's another alternative. About half of it had the frames scraped and wax burned (in winter.) I considered washing but decided it might spread the contamination into the soil, and of course, up here washing can only happen at the time of year when the bees are flying.

    The main cost for me to go to NJ was the transportation as I don't have a truck and would have to rent a UHaul, twice for both delivery and pick-up. That cost was about $1500, compared to the treatment costs for two or three pallets (less than $600). The actual irradiation costs work out to less than $5/ deep with frames, which is a bargain compared to replacement cost. Transportation adds another $12-15/ deep, which approaches the box cost, but still cheaper than replacing the frames and foundation, or the value in salvageable drawn combs.

    I am still glad that I treated, despite all the hand-wringing about prolonging "weak genetics". I wish I had done so with more alacrity once the problem was identified. But even treating (and two changes to clean equipment) did not, in the first 18 months return all of my colonies to their full pre-sickness vigor. I lost some. But this year (the third season) things are looking much better. I have one last colony to check tomorrow, but I am hopeful. (Memorial Day up here being the beginning of our strongest flow. We don't have a summer dearth here, so it will be OK from now until the end of September.) I have been on tenterhooks as we had a long, delayed, cool spring this year, which is one risk factor (due to uneven pollen availability). I am still aggressively cashiering drawn combs and will continue that this summer. I also select against older-looking pollen.

    EFB sucks!

    Nancy

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