PMS or EFB?
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Thread: PMS or EFB?

  1. #1
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    Default PMS or EFB?

    This colony started this spring as a 3-frame nuc. Recently I found discolored and shriveled up larvae in several cells of one frame. I have not seen affected larvae like this on the other frames of this colony. (Double deep 10-frame.) The brood pattern is very spotty on this frame. The queen is still laying eggs on this frame. In fact, I found the queen on this frame during my inspection.
    I pulled this frame out of the hive, bagged it and stuck it in the freezer.
    I have not treated this colony for varroa nor have I done a mite check yet. This colony does have more SHBs than the other colonies (and I have added beetle traps) but I would not call it an infestation at this point. Far from it.
    Could this be PMS? Or EFB?
    P5260118.jpg P5260119.jpg P5260123.jpg P5260133.jpg P5260134.jpg

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: PMS or EFB?

    I dont think PMS. No cells being uncapped, no signs of mite frass. What I see is lots of eggs but almost no wet brood developing to the capping stage. Capped brood appears healthy but not many cells getting to that stage. i see discoloured and slumped larvae. I would handle that colony with the assumption that efb is highly possible.

    There are some very good pictures of EFB in links in the EFB Options thread.


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

  4. #3
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    Default Re: PMS or EFB?

    the larvae turning yellow in photo #2 are highly suggestive of efb.

    did you make the split or was the nuc made up by someone local?
    Last edited by squarepeg; 05-26-2019 at 07:05 PM.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  5. #4
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    Default Re: PMS or EFB?

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    did you make the split or was the nuc made up by someone local?
    I bought six nucs (three frames each) from a source in South Georgia. Mine were part of a larger order put together by a member of one of my bee clubs. The nucs were made after the bees returned from California where they were pollinating almond trees. Some of the frames in the nucs appear to be very old. Very dark comb and repairs made to some frames. I will rotate out these old frames down the road.

    The other five nucs (as well as other nucs purchased from another local source) are all doing well. (Except for the one where I dropped a frame and killed the queen. But that is another story.)

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    the larvae turning yellow in photo #2 are highly suggestive of efb.
    That's what I was thinking. The photos in my book 'Diagnosis and Treatment of Common Honey Bee Diseases' led me to think it could be EFB. I guess I need to buy some Terramycin.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: PMS or EFB?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hobo View Post
    I bought six nucs (three frames each) from a source in South Georgia. Mine were part of a larger order put together by a member of one of my bee clubs. The nucs were made after the bees returned from California where they were pollinating almond trees.
    a similar scenario is playing out up here.

    you need a prescription from a vet to get terramycin these days. it's likely that the vet will want a positive id before giving the prescripition. it took me almost two weeks to get test results.

    by the time all of that gets done and you have your terramycin that colony will be dwindled down to almost nothing and not worth saving. at least that was how it went for me.

    i would consider quickly getting it the heck away from your other colonies. in my yard it spread very fast to other colonies via drifting. if it's the only one you may want to consider burning and burying it.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  7. #6
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    Default Re: PMS or EFB?

    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  8. #7
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    Default Re: PMS or EFB?

    Well, actually you can't just buy Terramycin any more. You'll need a veterinarian's prescription, after he has examined the hive.

    What you can buy is a field test made by VITA specifically for EFB. The tests cost $13-14 each and most bee suppliers sell them these days. If you need to order them by mail, I'd buy two in case you screw up the first one, in order to avoid having to wait for a reshipment. They each are intended for a single use. They are quite accurate.

    Meanwhile I would put in place very strict isolation protocols: no using the same tools or gloves in different hives. Do not move any bees, queens, brood, frames or equipment from one hive to another, even among the apparently healthy ones. Stop making splits. Don't sell any colonies or queens or move them to a new yard until after they have been treated. Add robber screens to make sure your weakest colonies are not being robbed. Prevent swarming by any means possible. Call for a state inspection if you have those in your state.

    If your test is positive take your honey off early and treat every colony in the yard.

    Does this sound like a royal PITA? Well, it is that, for sure!

    I can't tell enough just looking at pictures, but what I see tells me you need to get to the bottom of it ASAP, so order the tests and get some answers. It may "cure itself" on a good flow. But that will not remove the bacteria from your frames, combs and woodenware, you will likely have re-occurrences, even if you treat. The treatment is not a failure if this happens, it just means you have moved on to the equipment phase of the problem.

    The "best" tactics that I know of are double shook swarms (two different sets of clean equipment per colony) combined with well-timed treatment. Even with this level of effort, expect your bees to take some time to recover even after the overt symptoms disappear.

    The cardinal sign of EFB that I look for is evidence is steady egg production that doesn't result in four times as much capped brood preceded by fat, white glistening late-stage larvae stuffed in their cells. EFB is a disease that infects and kills larvae mostly before it is capped. Tragically it is the hygenic behavior of honeybees that promotes the disease. The nurse bees clean out the dead and dying larvae and in the process become contaminated with the bacteria in the dead brood's cells. This does not make the nurse bees sick, but it causes them to produce infectious brood food for the next larvae that hatch out. And so on, until there are no bees left.

    You could do a sugar roll, but expect it to be low because the disease also interrupts the varroa reproduction cycle by interrupting the honey bee brood cycle.

    EFB sucks, big time. I really hope your tests are negative. There seems to be a lot of it going around these days.

    Nancy

  9. #8
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    Default Re: PMS or EFB?

    Thanks for the replies. Not what I wanted to hear but it is what I expected.
    I have stapled window screen over the front of the affected hive so no bees from the hive can exit. The screen will allow ventilation and room for a number of bees to congregate inside the screen enclosure.
    Tomorrow I will take this hive to some land I own about 5 miles away (as the bee flies). I will temporarily locate the hive in a small family cemetery on the property. (I don't think my great-great grandparents would mind.)
    What do you think of this idea? When I caught the queen today she looked healthy. As evidenced in the photos she is laying eggs. What if I exterminate all the bees in the affected hive (except the queen) and introduce the queen to a nuc created from frames from another healthy hive? That way I can at least salvage a decent queen and start a new colony.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: PMS or EFB?

    Moving the hive to another place is a BAD idea, IMO. (Though I well understand the impulse to do it, believe me.) That will simply make two sites where there is either likely or potential EFB. It is a contagious disease vectored by both bees and humans. You will be less-able to monitor the colony and prevent robbing of it, which will simply spread it to new areas and bees, whether feral or managed.

    Make no mistake, all the hives in the same yard are already exposed to it, through drifting and cross contamination of tools /gloves/hands and equipment before you had any awareness of the problem. They just may be a little more resistant, or haven't started to express symptoms. Unless you just brought this colony to the yard in the last week or two, the problem is already loose in your apiary, unfortunately.

    Keeping the bees screened in will result in the colony dying from overheating in just a few hours on a sunny day. Let them out, or euthanize them, but don't make them suffer.

    The queen is contaminated, too, though much less so than the nurse bees.

    Don't get ahead of yourself. You don't, yet, know what you're dealing with. Order the tests by express shipment and you'll know by the weekend. They are lightweight, so easy to pack in a padded bag and send out. It may still be PMS, since you haven't treated or monitored. Mite problems are much more common than EFB.

    While having EFB is a total PITA, it is not AFB where destruction is more or less automatic. Despite the similar names, they are different organisms, with different disease courses and they have very different long-term risks.

    EFB sucks, but perhaps not as much as you may fear right now. Do you have a bee-inspection system in GA? Find out how to contact your local inspector if you do and get on that first thing tomorrow morning.

    Nancy

  11. #10
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    Default Re: PMS or EFB?

    nancy makes some quite valid points and i don't dispute any of them.

    the manner in which she dealt with efb and the way i am going about it are as different as we are individual persons. ask a few more beekeepers what they would do and be prepared for dozens more answers.

    my experience is very limited, but my suggestions are what i would do faced with the same situation. a lot of the information i have come up on with respect to efb is dated, incorrect, in dispute, or still getting figured out.

    the fastest way to get a test result is to see if there are any beekeeping supply stores within driving distance of you who have the vita test kits in stock.

    overnighting a sample to the usda-ars bee lab in beltsville would be the next quickest way.

    if you can get a state apiarist out tomorrow to get a sample and take it to a state lab might be another quick way to get a result.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  12. #11
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    Default Re: PMS or EFB?

    Thanks again.
    I have opened up the screen so the bees can fly. A nearby beekeeper is coming over to see what he thinks. I'm looking into getting a test kit.

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    The queen is contaminated, too, though much less so than the nurse bees.
    Does this mean that I could not (or should not) use this queen to make a nuc using (apparently) healthy frames from another hive? Would the queen infect the new nuc?

  13. #12
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    Default Re: PMS or EFB?

    The queen is suspect as a source of infection and also would not be a prime candidate for any increase of genetic resistance potential.

    Oh how I wish I had destroyed all the bees and frames and scorched the boxes from that first colony of mine that was the apparent start of my EFB experience.
    Frank

  14. #13
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    Default Re: PMS or EFB?

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    The queen is suspect as a source of infection and also would not be a prime candidate for any increase of genetic resistance potential.
    i have 7 monster strong colonies that were equally exposed coming out of winter but you wouldn't know it by looking at them. they are averaging just over 200 lbs. of honey on them as we speak.

    i reckon i'll progagate some more from them.

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    Oh how I wish I had destroyed all the bees and frames and scorched the boxes from that first colony of mine that was the apparent start of my EFB experience.
    when my buddy living in the next state over called to tell me he found 2 of his 70 colonies were infected with efb we felt destruction by fire was the best call.

    frank raises a good option for you hobo. if this is the only nuc in that bulk order showing this light a match and quick.

    decide if your time acquiring the test, acquiring the vfd from the vet, ordering the treatment, applying the treatment, and all the while you have got a typhoid mary hive...
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  15. #14
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    Default Re: PMS or EFB?

    i would also consider reaching back to the supplier, letting them know what you are experiencing, and see what kind of response you receive.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  16. #15
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    Default Re: PMS or EFB?

    I located a source for terramycin but (naturally) I have to have a prescription. Yesterday and today I visited or called a few veterinarians. NONE of them were willing to write a prescription for terramycin. This afternoon I called the UGA Bee Lab for advice. I have decided to follow their advice as outlined below (slightly modified due to time constraints).
    I caught the queen in the suspect hive and caged her. (I will keep her in a safe place until the new queen is accepted and then pinch her.) Next I pulled every frame from the suspect hive that had any brood for a total of eight frames. Tomorrow I will burn all of these frames. I went through some of my other hives and pulled one frame of mostly emerging brood from each. I stopped when I reached five frames of brood. These frames (with nurse bees) were placed in the suspect hive. The remaining three frames of brood and the new queen will come from my nuc tomorrow. I am leaving the suspect hive to go through the night queenless.
    The theory (if I understand it correctly) is that with mostly emerging brood there will be very few larvae to which the bacteria can be spread; and the colony will soon be populated by a large number of healthy bees who can fight the disease. The brood break is also supposed to help.
    If the colony still has symptoms of EFB after three weeks I will try something else - most likely treat with terramycin.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: PMS or EFB?

    Do the frames have decent coverage? Poor nurse bee to brood ratio will give you efb looking larvae. Types of viruses also look like efb. It also stand to reason that poor nutritional feeding coupled with high mite loads would stress your colony which encourages EFB. I have colonies with EFB symptoms from time to time. It's either the queens fault, The beekeepers fault (mites) or lack of good nutrition. More often it is a combo.
    Splitting a first year hive successfully https://youtu.be/ZfRTreQ-S9c

  18. #17
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    Default Re: PMS or EFB?

    This thread also highlights one of the issues with purchasing nucs. Frames of old comb are particularly likely to harbor disease. This is the reason I've never purchased nucs. I have purchased hives of bees in the past, but only after I personally went through each colony to verify no problems were present. The last time I purchased hives was in 1990 and I found 3 AFB infected colonies out of 40. The entire yard of 7 colonies were destroyed on the presumption that I don't want AFB anywhere near my bees.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

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