EFB dilemma
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Thread: EFB dilemma

  1. #1
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    Mar 2015
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    Default EFB dilemma

    I have one hive that has efb, not confirmed by test but pretty sure that's what it is. Had it once before years ago. Back then requeening seemed to fix the problem so I tried it again with this hive. While it did seem to improve there are still signs of efb. Even though infected, this hive was still able to fill two supers so far. The hive doesn't appear to be dwindling but it's not expanding either.

    So here is my dilemma. After reading enjambres posts on EFB I'm a little spooked and tempted to just destroy this colony and store the equipment for a few years. This hive is in an apiary with at least twenty other colonies all very close together(4 or 5 inches apart at most). None of the others show any signs of EFB, not even the one right next door. After reading how antibiotics long term success is less than ideal I don't even want to mess with them.

    So my options are requeen again, do nothing and hope for the best or play it safe and destroy the colony. Any other options? What's the general consensus here? Destroy, requeen? I only have two other apiaries so nowhere to move and isolate colony

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: EFB dilemma

    is it possible to move it to one of the other apiaries and position it away from and facing another direction than the rest. another poster reports the commercially available test kits are backordered at this time. sending a sample to beltsville might be the prudent thing to do. i personally wouldn't be comfortable with pretty sure on the diagnosis. if efb and from your description i would say that you are dealing with a less virulent strain than i am, but these bad bugs have a way of morphing into even worse bugs. i would be uncomfortable with the risk this one colony poses to the rest and if it's the only one i would consider destruction by fire.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  4. #3
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    Grand Rapids MI USA
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    Default Re: EFB dilemma

    If you canít quarantine it to get a proper diagnosis and cure, I would say putting it down would be a prudent thing to do, eh? Any farmer w/ any other livestock would do the same Iím sure.
    Rod

  5. #4
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    Default

    Yeah I pretty much knew destroying them was the answer but was hoping for something I hadn't thought of yet. I'm pretty sure it's EFB, I'll post some pics if I get the chance to take them. Should of had a test kit on hand just in case, I will in the future.

    How crazy do I need to be about isolating the the supers and frames? I won't use them for a few years but is it ok to run them through the extractor and then clean it really well before doing the other supers three weeks later?

    Also after extracting what's the best way to get the comb clean? I usually put the supers back on the hive or just leave them out to be cleaned by the bees, obviously neither of those is an option. One is brand new combs on plastic foundation and the other is a mix of older comb on plastic and wax foundations.

    Best way/most humane way to kill a hive? Dry ice, soapy water? I would like to kill it on the stand by the others then carry frames straight to fire pit and scape out combs and burn. I would like to do it at dusk so I get most and they don't fly into other hives.

    Will two years in storage be sufficient time for the equipment to sit before reusing? I plan on putting the four boxes, lid and bottom board in my attic where there will be extreme heat and cold. Maybe the temp extremes will help clear the EFB? Is it ok to try and save the frames if I scrape the wax?

  6. #5
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    Default Re: EFB dilemma

    all good questions mcon but unfortunately their is not a uniform agreed upon standard operating procedure.

    especially when it comes to reusing equipment the guidance is all over the map.

    what i am doing at this time, which is a royal pita, is spending hours upon hours trying to salvage close to 400 frames of drawn comb by very carefully 'pressure' washing it with a garden hose, drying it good with a fan, carefully misting 3% bleach, drying it good with a fan, carefully misting bt aizawai, drying it good with a fan, stacking and storing for now screen tight.

    the frames i am 'sanitizing' in this way have no honey or pollen in them, just empty comb. i'm treating the boxes ect. the same way.

    i have engaged a number of folks who are looking at the feasibility of building a device to sterilize equipment via radiation or fumigation.

    beltsville has offered to test my 'sanitized' comb for the presence of the bacteria.

    i gave 5 frames of 'sanitized' comb to a uninfected caught swarm this past weekend end to see if i could provoke an infection by doing so. time will tell on that one.

    it's one of those we're all learning as we go deals.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  7. #6
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    Default Re: EFB dilemma

    (should have read 'uniformly agreed upon')

    as far as euthanizing, most colonies i have done were dwindled down to a single box of bees. i put them in the deep freezer, wait about 12 hours, open the freezer just to and take the tops off, and give it another 24 hours.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  8. #7
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    Default Re: EFB dilemma

    I did an exercise of mentally trying to envision every move involved in cleaning up frames; every move, and the resulting potential for spreading the bacteria. It simply was not possible in my mind, without the potential of making things worse. Boxes can be very well scorched and I have risked that.

    I have some boxes and frames stored from deadouts this past winter that may have been due to suffocation. With those I will test the water very carefully. One of that group is queenless but raising healthy donated brood from my only other apparently health colony. Last summer some time was the last signs of active EFB but the reoccurence possibility hangs over me.

    From 13 colonies to one and a half in little more than a year.
    Frank

  9. #8
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    Default Re: EFB dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    I did an exercise of mentally trying to envision every move involved in cleaning up frames; every move, and the resulting potential for spreading the bacteria. It simply was not possible in my mind, without the potential of making things worse. Boxes can be very well scorched and I have risked that.
    no kidding. i would have to nuke my wife, my house and everything in it, along 3 vehicles to be totally on the safe side frank.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  10. #9
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    Default Re: EFB dilemma

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

  11. #10
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    Default Re: EFB dilemma

    Since I am the origin of your anxiety let me say this: I would not euthanize a hive w/o a positive tests, either from Beltsville or one of the field tests. And even then I would probably treat a colony that was still strong and ready to recover.

    EFB Field tests are in stock at Betterbee.com right now.

    In the meantime, I would slowly ease this colony away from the other colonies -slightly rotating the entrance away from the others to avoid putting foragers at risk of joining other colonies and then shifting if it slowly away. Put robbing screens on the others (and this one if it is weak.)

    Practice extremely diligent cross-contamination prevention on every colony, in every yard where you may already spread the bacteria -while waiting for the test.

    I would also treat with antibiotics. I did with mine and mine are now OK. Don't confuse the long-term issue with contaminated equipment and long term prognosis for the hive if is treated and moved away from the contamination.

    I think antibiotics have gotten a bad rap when people treat and then leave the bees in the same disease-contaminated environment and then complain the antibiotics didn't work because the bees got sick again. Well, duh!

    Getting a VFD for the antibiotics is a PITA, I admit. But the actual treating is easy to do. I chose to do all hives in the yard on the theory that I had already passed it along by using normal beekeeping practices before I realized I had a problem. (My bad!)

    But if you are collecting honey there is a 42-day withdrawal period after antibiotics before you can super for harvest again, so perhaps in a honey yard treating only the sick ones is the best choice. Delaying or skipping treating for the asymptomatic production colonies.

    Everybody who has to deal with this, needs to decide for themselves, but don't needlessly spook yourself. And don't do anything drastic w/o confirmation that's what you're really dealing with.

    Good luck!

    EFB sucks (but that may not really be your problem.)

    Nancy'

  12. #11
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    Default

    Couple of test kits on the way from betterbee priority mail. Had my son extract the two supers and for now will just place back on and wait for results. Cleaned extractor with pressure washer and sanitizer. Also going to send a sample to Beltsville. It's been like this all spring just reading all of these EFB posts I panicked and started to think I should have tested right away but honestly always thought it wasn't that big of a deal until reading about others struggles with it. Not just yours enjambres, which I always find your posts very detailed and helpful. Thanks for the replies I'll update with results. -Mike

  13. #12
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    Default Re: EFB dilemma

    (just kidding about the vehicles )
    I was more worried about your wife.

    Has anyone thought about temperature based sterilizing? I wonder if sustained temps of say 130 degrees would be sufficient to eliminate EFB? If so, I have a greenhouse that can easily reach 130 degrees on a sunny day. I store unused beekeeping equipment along one wall of the greenhouse because it totally prevents wax moth damage. I do not let the temperature get above 120 under normal conditions.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  14. #13
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    Default Re: EFB dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    Has anyone thought about temperature based sterilizing?
    i've not come across that dar, but it's all on the table for investigation. the prof at a&m is also looking into uv exposure.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  15. #14
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    Sep 2012
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    Stockholm, NJ, USA
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    Default Re: EFB dilemma

    You should send it to the USDA, this year they seem to have a quick turn around. I sent my sample on a monday and got the result by that Friday. I was actually shocked at the turn around.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: EFB dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by mcon672 View Post
    Couple of test kits on the way from betterbee priority mail. Had my son extract the two supers and for now will just place back on and wait for results. Cleaned extractor with pressure washer and sanitizer. Also d to send a sample to Beltsville. It's been like this all spring just reading all of these EFB posts I panicked and started to think I should have tested right away but honestly always thought it wasn't that big of a deal until reading about others struggles with it. Not just yours enjambres, which I always find your posts very detailed and helpful. Thanks for the replies I'll update with results. -Mike
    As I have posted before, last year actually. It could be something else that has similar symptoms as EFB. Last year I had an EFB scared, did a field and a lab test and they were negative. This season, I thought I one of my home hive had EFB, but I was more relaxed about it (dark brood, nicked cells, droopy wet dead broods, not ropy, and on). This prompted me to send a sample of dead broods to the USDA in Beltsville and the results came back negative and got it back on the 4th day. I still don't know what caused the broods to die on that hive but I believe it is turning around nicely. It is great to know that my overreaction did not push me to eliminate my hives.

  17. #16
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    Well EFB confirmed by test. Ugh. The hives population is definitely less but still not terrible. I'll include a few photos I took of larvae in various stages of melting. Wish I would have ordered the early version of the bee guru app just to test it out on this hive. Any suggestions on how to eliminate this hive on the stand without spreading efb everywhere? I'm thinking dry ice and a large garden garbage bag.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: EFB dilemma

    excellent pictures, good luck
    mike syracuse ny
    Whatever you subsidize you get more of. Ronald Reagan

  19. #18
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    I would close it up and burn it to the ground. EFB is nothing to play around with. Over the years I had two hives with it I sent tests in and confirmed they had it. But out of precaution destroyed them . Both tests did come back positive. The way I see it it's cheaper and safer to act on the premise I have it and save the rest of my yard. That being said I've also noticed that before they got it the two hives appeared to be getting weak. I just believe with EFB being proactive is the prudent choice

  20. #19
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    Default Re: EFB dilemma

    "We began the NYS Beekeeper Tech Team sampling three days ago and already have identified more European foulbood than usual for this time of year (we've found it in in 13 out of 18 yards so far, in various locations across the state)."

    from: https://www.facebook.com/DyceLab/vid...8260486130249/

    the reports keep coming in. practice vigilance, be prepared to get a quick diagnosis, have a plan of action in place. the 'new' efb appears to spread to other colonies very quickly, may not be turned around by the time antibiotics are used, and it is looking more and more like the bacteria can linger for a long time in equipment.

    i am going to sticky this thread along with the others pertaining to recent efb outbreaks to call for everyone's attention to know and understand this enemy.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  21. #20
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    Default Re: EFB dilemma

    Too bad all these links come up face book, a place I have never made the leap to participate at.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

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