Foul Brood Disaster?
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  1. #1

    Default Foul Brood Disaster?

    I went into my strongest, and only overwintered hive today. It seemed quiet despite warm sunny conditions. There was 2 near full supers (I have taken 2 off so far as well), but when I got to the top brood box capped brood was spotty and there were a number of dead pupae in cells. I pulled some out with forceps; some were pretty soupy. I'm afraid I'm on a one way ticket ride to disaster. The photos show cells as well as some brood I pulled out. Any advice? EFB? Other? Thought I was having a good year with 2 new hives and a successful split (from this hive). I only looked at this and the split today - figured I didn't want to go into the other 2 hives before cleaning up.
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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
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    2,741

    Default Re: Foul Brood Disaster?

    When was the colony last treated for varroa, and what was the treatment? How strong is the adult bee population? Is there any uncapped brood or eggs in the brood nest? When was the last inspection done on this hive and what was it's condition then?

    My first 2 guesses as to what the problem would be are varroa mites and no queen.
    42 + years - 24 colonies - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Foul Brood Disaster?

    I am thinking those pupae look too healthy to be EFB victims. Is it possible they are drones being aborted and tossed?

    Yes, colony numbers reduced by varroa and not enough bees left to feed and cover brood. Have honey stores been robbed out?
    Frank

  5. #4

    Default Re: Foul Brood Disaster?

    Quote Originally Posted by AR Beekeeper View Post
    When was the colony last treated for varroa, and what was the treatment? How strong is the adult bee population? Is there any uncapped brood or eggs in the brood nest? When was the last inspection done on this hive and what was it's condition then?

    My first 2 guesses as to what the problem would be are varroa mites and no queen.
    Thanks, AR. Last treated last fall with 3 bouts of OA vapor. I had planned on vaping last night (2 wk late) but spent too much time showing a friend with my new evaporator at his yard. There is uncapped brood, various stages. I didn't open bottom box, but the flight volume was lower than typical, almost like it had swarmed. So, adult population seems light/weak, but a week ago they were bearding over half the hive front. I could have missed a late swarm. BTW, there were soupier pupae in some cells that couldn't be retrieved.

    I've gotten away, right or wrong from formic pads, etc. Seem to sometimes kill a lot of workers, even without excess heat, and I'm not a chemo-phobe, but the stuff really smells unholy. Maybe I've been fooling myself with OA, though. Lost 3 of 4 hives last winter (spring actually).

    As said, this hive was pumping out honey like I've never seen till recently - maybe they just hit the varroa wall due to my negligence. I'll tear hive apart more thoroughly tomorrow with at least some hope I don't have FB and see what else can be gleaned.

    Thanks.

    Brian

  6. #5

    Default Re: Foul Brood Disaster?

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    I am thinking those pupae look too healthy to be EFB victims. Is it possible they are drones being aborted and tossed?

    Yes, colony numbers reduced by varroa and not enough bees left to feed and cover brood. Have honey stores been robbed out?
    Thanks Crofter. No, they are not drone brood. I typically slice drone brood during inspections as half-assed mite control. Honey not robbed out, unless there is some subtle, preliminary robbing. One of the remaining supers was really tough to lift at chest height (full), the other I had slipped beneath it ~ 2 wk ago was ~50% by weight. Lots of uncapped honey (and capped) in upper deep as well. Maybe simply me waiting too long for mite treatment (just bought a very nice evaporator). Very anecdotal, but on this inspection, for the first time I saw a bee with a long abdomen that I thought might be a queen with its head in a cell. I looked closely - not a Q, but it had 2 mites on its "neck", which I have not seen before.

    Thanks,
    Brian

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Foul Brood Disaster?

    EFB turns the larvae brown. AFB doesn't happen until after they are capped and it is also brown and soupy AND it strings...

    That looks like white larvae. Probably what people are now calling IBD (Idiopathic Brood Disease).
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Colorado Springs, CO United States
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    1,376

    Default Re: Foul Brood Disaster?

    "Last treated last fall with 3 bouts of OA vapor." For treated bees this is an eternity
    Please excuse me, I am now free to go manage & treat ;)
    my ladies the best way I know how.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Foul Brood Disaster?

    My vote is varroa also. There is one cell, second pic lower middle, that might sort of resemble EFB although not exactly, but can also look exactly like that when killed by varroa and associated viruses. All the other dead larvae do not resemble EFB at all and look like PMS (parasitic mite syndrome).

    Probably the best plan is do a varroa treatment and see how things turn out. Note that the varroa infestation looks pretty high and the hive may be close to or at, the point of no return even if treated, so do this ASAP, and thoroughly.

    Just some other info, strong hives that did well can be the worst hit by varroa in fall. Because the big bee population can harbor a high varroa mite load without showing much effect. But when the queen slows laying to reduce the bee population in fall, the mites are concentrated onto a much smaller amount of brood, sometimes even 100% infestation of the brood, causing the seemingly booming hive that made a lot of honey, to crash and die surprisingly quickly.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Enfield,Ct.
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    572

    Default Re: Foul Brood Disaster?

    Don't fool around.Call your bee inspector if you don't know what you are looking at.Mass has one of the best state inspection services around.If you are lucky,you might be in Ken Warchol's district.

    Jack,member of Worcester Beeks but lives in CT

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