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Discussion Starter #1
In my 11 years of keeping bees, I have yet to have encountered AFB (at least confirmed). Found this in the cells. Appeared to be some black scales, deflated brood in cells. Grabbed a stick and tried the ropy test, but didn't get the stringing I've seen in pictures. Any help identifying if it is AFB (meaning burn it)?





 

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"American Foul Brood is caused by the bacterium Paenibacillus larvae which forms very long lasting spores. Larvae are infected before 2.5 days old but die after their cell is capped. Look for sunken, punctured cappings on sealed brood. Forms ropy stage. Additional tests include the Holst Milk test (http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/holst_milk_test.html), Vita Europe antibody test kit (distributer = Dadant (M00133 American Foulbrood Diagnostic Kit ). Samples can be sent to Apiary Section, Bureau of Plant Industry, PA dept of Agriculture, 2301 N. Cameron St, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9925. OR to Bee Disease Diagnosis, Bee Research Laboratory, Bldg. 476, BARC-East, Beltsville, MD 20705. Remember, antibiotics only SURPRESS the symptoms. We have the possibility of gamma irradiating diseased combs."

This is a quote from a beekeeper I respect who is holding advanced classes at our club. I looks to me like the the cells you are concerned about are not capped. If so, I'd vote for the following "European Foul Brood (Melissococcus pluton) kills larvae before they are sealed. Considered a stress disease. Usually subsides with honey flow. Re-queening helps."
 

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Hard to say Kay. Cut out some comb and send it to Beltsville Bee Lab for analysis.
 

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Looks like you might have a little "sac brood" there if anything.
 

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Sac brood would be my (somewhat uneducated) guess as well, mostly by elimination as it dosent appear to be either afb or efb. Can you extricate some of the sickened larvae in a watery sac?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm packing up at the moment, as I'm moving shortly, so I don't have my ABC on hand. Really wished I hadn't packed that up in one of the dozen or so boxes full of books.

But I'm glad to hear no one is suggesting AFB. The black "scale" like object (shown in the bottom picture) had me a little nervous. Although in the picture it looks less like "scale" and more like goo. Could be the photo, but more likely it was my "oh ****" nerves that thought it was scale at the time.

I can extract some of the sickened larvae as if they are watery sacs. But my understanding was that most resemble the shape of a slipper or a canoe, i.e. the larvae of sac brood retain their shape, with oddly shrunken heads. The top photo appears to have larvae that deflated in the cell. I was seeing more of that then I was of white/brown/black sac brood larvae I've seen in photos before.

I really need to get better about disease recognition. I'm good at telling varroa and SHB infections, and have run into EFB and Chalkbrood once or twice in the past dozen years, but other than that I'm not good at spotting any other diseases. One could call it a blessing, but on the other hand since I haven't had any experience with it I know it will be a problem later. Other than reading over ABC and/or studying pictures, any suggestions on how to get better at disease ID? Particularly AFB.
 

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No cost. But it takes time. Six weeks maybe. Chances are it isn't AFB, by the way it looks and acts and doesn't look and act.
 

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Did you smell anything? This past weekend I got to go to a field day in Bedford Indiana where I got to smell infected AFB comb. OMG it smells like nothing you have ever smelled before. It is that bad.
 

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The one in the top & middle pic is definately not AFB. The one in the bottom pic does have some resemblance but if it was still gooey but wouldn't rope, almost certainly not AFB. All of them are totally consistent with PMS caused by mites which in the case of the bottom pic can be pretty much indistinguishable from sac brood.

Set your mind at rest with the lab test but mean time not worth losing any sleep. My opinion, the hive may have a mite issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Interesting Oldtimer. They just started showing this two weeks after a MAQS treatment. Not saying it isn't PMS, but I would have assumed the MAQS would make it better, not worse. But time will tell.

I have a 3 frame mating nuc next to it that is showing similar symptoms, but the other 22 hives in the yard appear to be fine.
 

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How about a lab test, and a mite count. You can also get a kitset AFB test you do at home. Cost something like 10 bucks. If you go that route test the dark one the two light ones are clearly not AFB.
 
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