What causes bee paralysis?
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  1. #1
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    Jan 2015
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    Default What causes bee paralysis?

    I’m seeing a lot of my bees on the ground unable to fly. I see no physical problems, wings look normal, mites not present and they don’t look at the end of their life. I read that this is called bee paralysis and can be caused by varroa mites bringing in various diseases. Is paralysis common? And do we know if there is a specific virus that is causing this behavior?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Erin, NY /Florence SC
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    Default Re: What causes bee paralysis?

    In the abscense of deformedwings, an indication of Deformed Wing Virus, Bees not flying and walking in circles on the ground is often a sign of Nosema Apis of Nosema Cernae. Carnae has become much more common although it takes around 50 millio spores per bee to have a major impact. Apis was often cured with a good honey flow and warm weather or with Fumigillan which was an antibiotic no longer available. The Bee paralysis afflictions are less common and a virus and as such there is no treament. You can send sample of your bees to Beltsville Bee Lab and have them tested at no cost and they will send you a report on what they find. They will give you guidelines on how to collect and submit samples. Depending on how many bees are affected in a hive it may not succumb but this late in the season having anything weakening the winter cluster is a hazard. There is not a lot we can do other than practice good beekeeping in dealing with this. There are feed supplements on the market which claim to increase colony vigor such as DFM and I know at least one beekeeper who runs 100 or so hives and thinks it helps with general health. If it was earlier in the season I would suggest requeening. At this stage do everything you can to make sure your hive is well stocked for winter and hope for the best.

  4. #3
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    May 2009
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    Grand Rapids MI USA
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    Default Re: What causes bee paralysis?

    I was always of the opinion that it was mite weakened bees. They (at least my observations) were kicked out of the hive and have no obvious deformities other than they lack the strength to work their wings enough to fly.
    Joel, you do bring up a good point about nosema c, if I see any crawlers this year (hope to gawd not) I’ll gather them up and test for it.
    Rod

  5. #4
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    Default Re: What causes bee paralysis?

    This is bee paralasis virus, one variant of. The behaviour of the dying bees is quite different to bees dying of DWV, bees with paralasis virus are a lot more agitated.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAJVMao71P0
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  6. #5
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    Feb 2001
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    Enfield,Ct.
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    Default Re: What causes bee paralysis?

    Beltsville does not test for viruses.

    https://www.ars.usda.gov/northeast-a...nosis-service/

  7. #6
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    Erin, NY /Florence SC
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    Default Re: What causes bee paralysis?

    Yea, I think the only lab which tests for virus is Vanenglesdorp lab at Penn state....I beIieve they do the testing for the USDASurvey which we participated in. Out inspector in SC took bees, brood and comb samples from our hives and submits them and we got an in depth breakdown of about all the known pathogens and chemicals as well as our ranking in relation to other operations. I do not know if they do any private testing or the costs. Ironically when I posted the original response I then opened the Mann Lake Flyer on my desk to see Fumidl B (fumigillin) is again available for /prevention/treatment of nosema.

  8. #7
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    Jan 2015
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    Seattle, WA
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    Default Re: What causes bee paralysis?

    Thanks for the information and what I should do next. I'll updated the forum if anything "interesting" comes from the testing.

  9. #8
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    Catskills, New York, USA
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    Default Re: What causes bee paralysis?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joel View Post
    Yea, I think the only lab which tests for virus is Vanenglesdorp lab at Penn state....I beIieve they do the testing for the USDASurvey which we participated in. Out inspector in SC took bees, brood and comb samples from our hives and submits them and we got an in depth breakdown of about all the known pathogens and chemicals as well as our ranking in relation to other operations. I do not know if they do any private testing or the costs. Ironically when I posted the original response I then opened the Mann Lake Flyer on my desk to see Fumidl B (fumigillin) is again available for /prevention/treatment of nosema.
    There is no treatment for n. cerana, either the bees can live with it or they can’t. Why dont you get involved with NY Bee Wellness, the virus mapping program? You send the samples to a lab in Montana. They test for everything and give you a report on what they find, including mites, bee weight, pesticides, etc. You send in samples 3-4 times a season using the same hive. I have a sustainable apiary, take care of mites, and the bees still manage to get a different virus than what they had before. This year the two hives being tested out of 20 have Acute Bee Paralysis Virus, no mites, one w low n. cerana. I was told that if the mite count climbs this virus will be lethal to the hive. If you want to see a sample of the report PM your email and I will send it. Deb
    Proverbs 16:24

  10. #9
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    Default Re: What causes bee paralysis?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cloverdale View Post
    There is no treatment for n. cerana, either the bees can live with it or they canít. Deb
    Actually there are several treatments available on the market for Nosema, including cernae, as well as studies easily searchable online regarding positive efficacy. The fact there is no Chemotherapeutic agent which cures the disease does not preclude treatments which can have a positive impact on the symptoms and effects of the disease. . As an example treatments with Fumigillin have been shown to reduce the mortality rate to the same level as uninfected colonies. I am aware of the ď what happens later ď argument however we have not observed that in our operation because a healthy hive is not about any one pathogen or treatment it is symbiosis of biology, animal husbandry and sparingly using whatever tools are necessary to keep strong healthy hives. If I recall correctly one of the treatments, maybe it was Nosevit, also favorably decreased mortality rates but did not kill spores leading the researcher to conclude it was the improvement in the general health of bees which impacted the affliction positively, therefore a treatment. In 1997 I attended a lecture by Dr. Shiminoko (formerly of Beltsville) who changed the way we looked at disease and pest. He taught us most disease pathogens exist in our hives however bees only succumb to disease when the hive reaches a certain point of weakness which allows the disease to progress.I Have posted his theory in depth, it is searchable in the archives here. I canít speak to all the claims made by various product producers but making the statement there is no treatment is not valid and the concept bees either can survive the disease or not is misleading. The issue with Nosema C is not either the bees can live with it or they canít as to my knowledge there are no proven resistant stocks, The issues is once the spore level reaches a certain point, around 50 million spores per Bee, any hive will weaken and succumb. I look forward to seeing a comparison with what USDA is doing with your Bee wellness report. Having been deeply involved in the resurrection of Dyce Lab in the 1990ís and what many of us consider the disappointments there, I am resistant to wasting money on different research facilities which get tax dollars to provide identical services or research being done elsewhere effectively. I will add My interactions with Bee Wellness have been very positive in relation to the level of participation of Beekeepers and their extensive outreach so I will keep an open mind.

  11. #10
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    Jun 2014
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    Default Re: What causes bee paralysis?

    There is a testing laboratory at North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, which has developed a panel for testing your submitted sample of bees to determine the existence of eleven (11) different viruses or bacterial agents affecting honey bees. They have spoken to our local hobbyist club, and I believe they are trying to develop tests that provide prompt, accurate results for beekeepers intent on investigating hive circumstances. There are many panels offered for various agricultural groups. Here is the link:
    https://www.genotypingcenter.com/services/testing/

  12. #11
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    Aug 2002
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    Default Re: What causes bee paralysis?

    There are a number of viruses that cause paralysis in bees. I know of no treatment for any of them. They existed before Varroa but Varroa have spread them at much faster rates. "Mites not present" is very unlikely. Varroa mites are ubiquitous in all of North America.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  13. #12

    Default Re: What causes bee paralysis?

    I have heard poisoned bees behave this way as well. It is most likely not the case, but shouldn't be excluded as a possibility. Have your neighbors treated their yards? Near by farms treating with insecticides? I have heard stories of bees getting exposed to poison and bringing it back to the hive and many bees leaving the hive on the ground to die. Thankfully I have never experienced this first hand.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: What causes bee paralysis?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joel View Post
    Actually there are several treatments available on the market for Nosema, including cernae, as well as studies easily searchable online regarding positive efficacy. The fact there is no Chemotherapeutic agent which cures the disease does not preclude treatments which can have a positive impact on the symptoms and effects of the disease. . As an example treatments with Fumigillin have been shown to reduce the mortality rate to the same level as uninfected colonies. I am aware of the ď what happens later ď argument however we have not observed that in our operation because a healthy hive is not about any one pathogen or treatment it is symbiosis of biology, animal husbandry and sparingly using whatever tools are necessary to keep strong healthy hives. If I recall correctly one of the treatments, maybe it was Nosevit, also favorably decreased mortality rates but did not kill spores leading the researcher to conclude it was the improvement in the general health of bees which impacted the affliction positively, therefore a treatment. In 1997 I attended a lecture by Dr. Shiminoko (formerly of Beltsville) who changed the way we looked at disease and pest. He taught us most disease pathogens exist in our hives however bees only succumb to disease when the hive reaches a certain point of weakness which allows the disease to progress.I Have posted his theory in depth, it is searchable in the archives here. I canít speak to all the claims made by various product producers but making the statement there is no treatment is not valid and the concept bees either can survive the disease or not is misleading. The issue with Nosema C is not either the bees can live with it or they canít as to my knowledge there are no proven resistant stocks, The issues is once the spore level reaches a certain point, around 50 million spores per Bee, any hive will weaken and succumb. I look forward to seeing a comparison with what USDA is doing with your Bee wellness report. Having been deeply involved in the resurrection of Dyce Lab in the 1990ís and what many of us consider the disappointments there, I am resistant to wasting money on different research facilities which get tax dollars to provide identical services or research being done elsewhere effectively. I will add My interactions with Bee Wellness have been very positive in relation to the level of participation of Beekeepers and their extensive outreach so I will keep an open mind.
    I was told by Randy Oliver there is no treatment to ďcureĒ n. cerana, and it was his words that I repeated above about either they live with it or donít; he also has some articles on his site regarding n. cerana.
    Proverbs 16:24

  15. #14
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    Nov 2012
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    Plymouth, MA USA
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    15

    Default Re: What causes bee paralysis?

    Last year had a hive develop Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus (or some variant, but not DW) in early September. They eventually recovered and got through the winter but the symptoms reappeared mid March and the hive failed. What I read said that the symptoms develop/reoccur when the hive is under (normal) seasonal stress. last year the mites snuck up on me and this hive had a heavy load in late October.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: What causes bee paralysis?

    3 of my hives had CBPV last year also. They all 3 made it through the Winter; 2 of them now, when tested, don’t show the CBPV anymore, but they show APV, which I am told is very sensitive to varroa loads.
    Proverbs 16:24

  17. #16
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    Default Re: What causes bee paralysis?

    >I have heard poisoned bees behave this way as well.

    True. If a lot of the hives are hit all at once, that's what I would assume. If one now and then has an issue, it's probably viruses.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  18. #17
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    Default Re: What causes bee paralysis?

    The symptoms can be similar but you can tell the difference. Most poisoning events are over in days, CPV continues normally for months at the least. The hive in the video i posted above had it for 2 years, by some miracle did not die, then cleared up.

    Some hives with CPV do die, and as there is no cure, I take a live or let die approach with them, i don't help them. I keep gear from CPV dead hives in the shed over winter then use it again, does not seem to transmit to the next lot of bees.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  19. #18

    Default Re: What causes bee paralysis?

    It is thought that a combination of large population sizes and periods of confinement in the colony, due to bad weather, cause crowded conditions which exacerbate the spread of infection through bodily contact between bees.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: What causes bee paralysis?

    There is a feed additive called Hive Alive which has a study linked on it's web site showing when some of the ingredients were fed in fall to a group of hives that had N. Cerana, the following spring the infestation was much reduced compared to the control group.

    Personally i don't believe in medicating for anything other than mites, all the same, if N. Cerana or certain other pathogens are giving someone grief, this might be of help.

    https://hivealivebees.com/
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  21. #20
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    Covington County, Alabama, USA
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    Default Re: What causes bee paralysis?

    I would think that September would be an odd time of year for the application of pesticides in gardens and farms. Not to say it could not happen.

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