help diagnosing
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Thread: help diagnosing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
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    New Paltz, New York, USA
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    Default help diagnosing

    tl;dr: Frame of emerging brood looked lethargic. Why? What to do?

    Background:

    I captured a swarm and installed them in a 10-frame deep with a half gallon of syrup in a top feeder, plus a couple honey frames from another colony. Two weeks later they had eggs and larvae and most of the frames had been drawn so I gave them another 10-frame brood box with new frames. Two weeks later they had brood of all ages and a good-looking queen, which I marked, but one frame looked a bit odd. Most of the brood area had emerging bees. Many of them weren't completely dead because their antennas were moving, but in the past when I've seen emerging brood it would be one or two per frame, and they'd be out in several seconds. In this case, the brood were just kind of there, not in any hurry.

    Has anyone seen this? What does it mean? My leading theories are: moderately chilled brood (due to small nurse bee population), poor nutrition (upstate NY has a semi-dearth in summer and I didn't feed pollen patties), or some brood disease (possibly spread by varoa mites) combined with hygienic behavior. On that last point, I didn't notice any larvae with obvious foul brood symptoms, and I installed Apivar strips as soon as I transferred them from the swarm trap to the 10-frame box.

    Later I saw them haul out an almost normal sized worker bee that was alive but a bit white-ish and could not fly, presumably one of those "emerging" brood.

    Other than that the colony seems healthy -- honey and pollen and brood of all ages, no deformed wings, etc, etc. Their population is a bit small, but that's to be expected from a mid-summer swarm.

    Thanks for any advice!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    Default Re: help diagnosing

    The whitish looking bee was probably an indication of DWV. I would feed pollen patties and hope they get a handle on it. Poor nutrition is a stressor that can cause the bees to be susceptible to all kinds of viruses that are normally kept at bay.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Saratoga Springs, NY
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    255

    Default Re: help diagnosing

    When grafting I sometimes use frames that have some emerging bees. While some seems to emerge quicker than others they are lethargic and awkward at first sometimes falling off the frame. After awhile they gain there composure and are fine. If you see a few pupa being dragged out chances are you damaged them during an inspection. In NY we still have plenty of pollen coming in, I never use pollen patties.

  5. #4
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    Nov 2017
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    New Paltz, New York, USA
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    Default

    Would it concern you to see a 4 inch by 4 inch area of comb where almost every cell had a visible bee in it? I should've taken a video.

    I didn't have pollen patties but gave them a winter patty which does have a little protein. I agree it shouldn't be necessary here in NY right now. I saw at least three colors of pollen coming in. I guess they could use the boost to build up for winter anyway.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Saratoga Springs, NY
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    255

    Default Re: help diagnosing

    Quote Originally Posted by cfalls View Post
    Would it concern you to see a 4 inch by 4 inch area of comb where almost every cell had a visible bee in it? I should've taken a video.

    I didn't have pollen patties but gave them a winter patty which does have a little protein. I agree it shouldn't be necessary here in NY right now. I saw at least three colors of pollen coming in. I guess they could use the boost to build up for winter anyway.
    I would keep an eye on it but it wouldn't concern me. If your unsure you could always get an EFB test kit.

  7. #6
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    Nov 2017
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    New Paltz, New York, USA
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    Default Re: help diagnosing

    Ah hah, I found a couple photos after all. I was intending to photograph the queen and my ham-fisted job of marking her, but in the background you can see uncapped cells with brood that's either dying or emerging, plus a kinda wonky pattern.

    IMG_20190803_111733.jpg

    IMG_20190803_111811.jpg

    I'm more trying to learn than really worried about this captured swarm.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    3,565

    Default Re: help diagnosing

    Lots of drone larvae in worker cells but plenty of worker cells too. My guess would be a newly mated queen. Give her an empty drawn comb in the middle of the brood nest and see what she does with it in two weeks. Is there any possibility that the original queen swarmed again? I had a swarm queen that had a similar laying pattern back in May. Gave her some time to straighten out and I pulled a three frame split off of the hive 9 days ago.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    New Paltz, New York, USA
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    Default Re: help diagnosing

    Ok, thanks for the thoughts. It sounds like you're not super worried. This colony is in a double deep with maybe 15 of the 20 frames drawn, so I don't think one frame plus or minus would make much of a difference.

    I was more wondering if the uncapped brood was an obvious sign of disease to a more trained eye, and the answer seems to be sort of "meh" or "just wait a while" or something like that, not like "OMG so much EFB, how did you let it go this far!".

    To be honest I've never had a deadout so I don't really know what a doomed colony looks like yet. These are the worst frames I've seen. #newbeekproblems

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