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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am wondering if what I think is going on matches what other people are seeing. I am seeing some brood that looks like it has starved and is dead. I am not having many stores coming in so I think the bees are not able to feed all of the brood, and some of it is starving before it gets capped. The larvae looks like it is properly formed.

This year the weather has been really weird. It has been really dry this spring, then it got hot so I don't think much nectar is coming in.

I have had spotty frames all year. Some of it was wet nectar placed in random cells, bee bread in random cells, and the hive not raising brood very well. I checked mites earlier this spring and all but 1 hive came back clean. I need to perform mite checks all of my hives again.

Does the lack of nectar coming in resulting in the bees not feeding all of the brood well seem like a reasonable explanation?

I know there are not many bees on this frame. This hive is having problems. I put a feeder on it last week, but I am not sure if it is helping yet.
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If you see any shriveled wings on any bees then treat for mites. I am not sure if I see shriveled wings or not in the pics, my eyesight is not as good lately. I don't see any pinholes in brood cappings so that makes he hesitate on the mites. But, mites will start becoming more populous as a percentage of brood from now to the end of the year. Since the brood has been spotty all year, I'd say change out the queen, and maybe also mites. I can not decide if I see EFB or not.

As far as problems from lack of flows, is there any stores in the hive? The hive will normally slow down brooding if no flows and especially if low on stores as well. If situation gets desperate, they'll cannibalize the brood and everything will look dry. The larva should look moist and there should be nectar to the edges of brood frames.

Someone with better eyesight in pictures may come up with more definite answers for you.
 

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I would consider an EFB test kit
If you don't have some sold bands of pollen/pollen combs and larva floating in jelly I would put a pollen sup on them
you want them looking like this

Figure 8. On the other hand, nurses enjoying good nutrition will flood the young larvae with jelly. I call this “wet brood.” I took this photo during a drought-induced pollen dearth in September, after dry-feeding the yard a pollen sub for 10 days. The nurses responded favorably, as evidenced by the larvae now “swimmin’ in jelly.”
not this

Figure 7. When a colony is under nutritional stress, the nurses cut back on the amount of jelly that they place around the young larvae, as above. I call this “dry brood.”

Practical application: colonies exhibiting dry brood will typically go downhill quickly, or succumb to disease.
 

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Did you shake bees off to take the pictures? If not, and all frames are that sparsely populated, it may not be worth trying to save them. If you do have a few frames with decent bee coverage, then I agree with what the others are saying. A requeening may be necessary, but, due to the melted look of a few of the larvae, I would test for EFB first. It could also be a bit of sac brood or PMS. It’s hard to say if this brood issue is because of a lack of good nutrition stressing the colony, or if the low resources are a result of the brood issues and low population. If you want to try to save them, I’d requeen ASAP, after an EFB test, and start mite treatments as soon as the new queen is laying.
 

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++ nube++

That laying pattern is off, is it emerging brood or a crappy lay pattern.
What created the pattern on the frame you are showing?
 

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If I see frames of brood with no pollen or nectar I assume they are starving, albeit I don't know what the rest of the frames look like. I would feed both pollen and syrup while waiting for the EFB test kit to arrive, all the while hoping I don't need it.

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i sure hope for you and your bees that it's not, but that looks a lot like the efb that wiped me out in 2019, specifically the yellowing of the dead larvae. have you or any other nearby beekeepers imported bees from outside your area this spring?

an option to waiting for a test kit in the mail might be to check with your state apiarist and see if they keep the test kits on hand.

by the time you kit a test kit in the mail and should the test show positive, you then have to find a veterinarian to authorize a prescription for otc, and then wait for that to come in the mail. unfortunately by then it will be too late to save infected colonies and there is potential for further spreading to yours and and others nearby in the meantime.

at least that was my experience, and i'll no longer attempt trying to treat it. only 2 out of 26 colonies recovered a normal brood pattern after otc, only to have efb show back up in them the following spring.

turns out efb (mellisococcus plutonius) can live in honey for as long as two years, so may have to continue using antibiotics year after year if your test is positive and you decide to go that route.

the problem is there are many different strains of efb, some of which are orders of magnitude more virulent and harder to eradicate. some countries have a mandatory burn law if it shows up. that's going go to be my approach from now on as well.
 

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I see a few of the twisted "bellyache larvae" and at least one with the dark lines of the trachea showing but a bit out of the areas in focus. Larvae perishing mostly before capping, not after, so negative toward sacbrood. Get test kits for sure but in the meantime start taking measures assuming it is european foulbrood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I would consider an EFB test kit
If you don't have some sold bands of pollen/pollen combs and larva floating in jelly I would put a pollen sup on them
you want them looking like this
Thanks,

I will get an EFB test on order. It does not look like EFB to me because the larve are still white and well formed, they are just dead.

It looks a lot like dry brood. This is the hive that had a population explosion, then they started crashing. There is a lot of bee bread in the hive, but it may be old so they are ignoring it. I am going to collapse the hive down to get rid of the empty space and put the feeder and a pollen patty closer to them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
++ nube++

That laying pattern is off, is it emerging brood or a crappy lay pattern.
What created the pattern on the frame you are showing?
My hives have had bad laying pattern for most of the year. Early in the season they were mixing nectar, brood, and bee bread all over in all of the hives. It would be in ajacent cells, so I have no idea what they were thinking. I think the bad laying pattern is a carry over from this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
i sure hope for you and your bees that it's not, but that looks a lot like the efb that wiped me out in 2019, specifically the yellowing of the dead larvae. have you or any other nearby beekeepers imported bees from outside your area this spring?
I really hope it is not EFB. None of my hives are new this year, or last year. The last time I got new bees was a packing in the spring of 2020.

I have no idea if anyone else in the area has imported bees. I would be suprised if there is not someone within a mile of me that got at least a package, if not multiple people
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I checked the mite loads on all of my hives. The one above had about a 1% mite load with a powdered sugar roll. My other 2 hives had a 0.3% mite load. I know a powdered sugar roll is not as accurate as an alcohol wash, and may be off by a factor of 3, but this is not a huge mite load. With the hive shrinking the climbing mite counts does not suprise me. This hive got formic pro in april because they had about a 1% mite load then and my other hives were clean.

I condensed down this hive more (removed empty boxes) to see if that helped. They were in the feeder today which is an improvement since they didn't seem to be in it last week. I think removing an empty box between the brood nest and the feeder yesterday helped. They also have a pollen patty now.

There was some sugar/honey stored in the hive and some bee bread. I do not know how old the bee bread is though, it may be from last year or older.

I took some more picture of the hive I was asking about today. Here they are. (it was overcast when I took the pictures)
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This is what that hive now looks like looking down. They are filling part of a medium box and that is about it. This spring when they were going gangbusters they were filling about 4 medium boxes and eating everything they could get.
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I found this on one of my other hives and it does not look good. This hive is doing ok population wise (2-3 medium boxes of bees) I shook most of the bees off this frame to use them for a mite check before taking this picture. Looks like I need to get in contact with the local veterinarian that works with bee keepers.

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how many hives do you have? i would strongly consider putting robbing screens on all of them. here is one version, but some of the folks on the forum may have a diy.


you could staple some window screen across the entrance and reduce the opening to one or two bees. i usually place a small rock in front of the opening that the bees have to climb over to get in. the idea is to make defending the entrance as easy as possible for the weakened colonies.

step one is get confirmation. as noted there are viruses that can do this too, but most viruses don't impact the larval stage like that.

step two is determined by step one. imho if it really is efb and you don't have a lot invested it's not worth trying to save them, and choosing to do so greatly increases the odds of it spreading to other hives. there's no guarantee it would reccur. a decent case can be made for euthanize and burn.
 

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It sure checks off the classic examples of EFB. It pre-empts varroa reproduction so zero mite counts not surprising. Poor flow conditions leads to the nurse bees digging deeper into older supplies of pollen which is one of the main sources of re infection. This repository of the disease is hard to wipe out by any sanitizing efforts. Trying to do so probably would expose surrounding healthy bees to more infection so Squarepegs advice is worth considering.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
how many hives do you have? i would strongly consider putting robbing screens on all of them. here is one version, but some of the folks on the forum may have a diy.


you could staple some window screen across the entrance and reduce the opening to one or two bees. i usually place a small rock in front of the opening that the bees have to climb over to get in. the idea is to make defending the entrance as easy as possible for the weakened colonies.

step one is get confirmation. as noted there are viruses that can do this too, but most viruses don't impact the larval stage like that.

step two is determined by step one. imho if it really is efb and you don't have a lot invested it's not worth trying to save them, and choosing to do so greatly increases the odds of it spreading to other hives. there's no guarantee it would reccur. a decent case can be made for euthanize and burn.
I will put robbing screens on my hives today. I have 3 full size hive and I have that many robbing screens. I can put a screen on one of my 2 nucs (that may or may not be queenless).

I am working on getting the contact info for the Vet that had presented at the local bee club. I will see where that goes. I would prefer to treat, and not burn. Right now my hives probably span 20ish boxes.

Loosing a lot of equipment and the hives would be painful. If i have EFB in one hive, I probably have it in all of them since they are a few feet apart.

I dont think I have ever had EFB before, I usually have strong hives so I am wondering if they caught it last fall or this spring from some other hives in the area. I know there are other hives in the area, I don't know how many or where they are all at though. We have deffently had poor flows this spring. I watered one of my fruit trees yesterday because it was so dry it was dropping the unripe fruit.
 

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i didn't burn the boxes, just the frames. and only the frames that contained any amount of sick brood, pollen, or nectar/honey. still that was 26 tall hives and ten years worth of comb. the frames that were perfectly empty were cleaned and reused. thankfully so far no efb in 4 years.

i feel your pain ef. as crofter points out efb leaves residual pathogen in the hive no matter what you do.

i can share more about how i cleaned the woodenware and empty comb if we get that far.

i called my state apiarist in right away. if they are on the ball in colorado, they will notify other beekeepers within flying distance of your yard. sometimes it's possible to them to trace the source, sometimes not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
i called my state apiarist in right away. if they are on the ball in colorado, they will notify other beekeepers within flying distance of your yard. sometimes it's possible to them to trace the source, sometimes not.
I dont think we have a state apiarist, so I am on my own in that regard. There is no official hive tracking in Colorado, so I have no idea how many people are within flying distance. I know of a few but I suspect there are a lot more that I do not know about.

The more I think about it, the more I am wondering if I know the source. There is someone that parks 20-40 hives in the middle of what that is mostly corn fields about 2.75 miles north of me seasonally. I suspect these hives are heading south towards me where there is more forge, and mine probably crossed path with them heading north. Since these hives appear to be on pallets and are only there some times I suspect they are being moved all over the country for almond pollination and other jobs.
 

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it's possible. migratory hives have a greater opportunity for crossing paths with other hives than stationary hives do, but 2.75 miles is probably far enough away do discount drifting from your hives to theirs and vice versa. plus those guys generally know what the heck they are doing, especially if their livliehood is on the line.

more likely someone closer to you who imported an infected colony and allowed the dwindling of the colony to the point of your bees gaining access to it.

gotta get a test kit asap. try the local bee club someone might have one, and someone may know the whereabouts of other beekeepers near you.
 
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