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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a hive with chalk brood. I changed out the bottom board to a SBB and left the entrance wide open.(I had it reduced due to dearth and robbing,,,fall flow is just starting so robbing shouldn't be an issue))I also use a inner cover that has wood shavings with screened holes and vents in the side. A site I visited stated to destroy the infected combs. Is that the consensus amongst the experienced in this group.?
Thanks


Rick SoMd
 

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I would change the queen, in addition to what you've done, as I've heard chalkbrood can be a genetic trait.
I agree would also advise to change the queen if the infection is bad,not much use changing the combs as the spores are carried also on the bodys of the bee's.....feeding thymolated syrup can help to reduce the chalkbrood to a great extent.
 

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I had a hive that had it last summer. They seem to work there way through it fine. As a matter of fact that hive overwintered better then any of my other hives last year.
 

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The root cause is not the spores it's either chilled brood, not enough ventilation or genetics (lack of hygienic behavior). I would make sure they are strong, and assuming they were when it started, I would requeen.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beespests.htm#chalkbrood
 

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Some more details:
Management practicesManagement practices that reduce the stress on hives also reduce the number of chalkbrood spores. Maintaining strong healthy colonies has been demonstrated to reduce the effects of chalkbrood.

Management practices which may reduce the effects of chalkbrood disease are:

removing ‘mummies’ from bottom boards and around the entrance
destroying combs containing large numbers of ‘mummies’
supplying new combs
providing good ventilation in hives
adding young adult bees to hives
not allowing bees to winter in a hive that is over supered
feeding sugar syrup, fresh uncontaminated pollen or supplements
maintaining strong hives by regular re-queening
reducing or preventing interchange of hive materials
not using the same site each year - if possible shift the apiary site slightly.
Good hygiene will also help. Change clothes and disinfect smokers, boots and hive tools using chlorine bleach between apiaries or infected hives.


Ernie
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The chalkbrood has not cleared up. I go in every 4 to 5 days and clear the bottom board of the mummies. The hive is obviously getting weaker even though I see some uncapped brood. The last two times I was in I could not find the queen and she is marked but is a dark colored queen. No new eggs seen but my tired eyes have a hard time with little things like that these days, but pretty sure. There were some new queen "cups" but nothing in them. I have a new queen on the way,,in the meantime,,opinions regarding what has happened to the queen? Is she gone ? just quite laying? bees wanted to supercede but no viable eggs? just laying a few and I can't see them
This hive is normally very calm when inspected, now they are testy and a little runny. My real concern is putting a new queen in if the hive queen is still around.
Any thoughts appreciated.
Rick SoMd
 

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Rick - I am a third year beekeeper so don't know if I am experienced generally or not but I do have experience with chalk brood. I brought it in with a nuc in May of 2009. When weather got warmer it seemed to go away which timing coincided with the bees moving into a second brood box. But in the summer when the bees moved back into the bottom box that had the old frames purchased in the nuc, the chalk brood came back worse than ever. I really thought the hive was a goner. Did not want to combine as I was afraid of the old frames and possibly contaminated bees. Couldn't find queen but wasn't totally sure she was gone so with one thing and another I did not requeen and just decided to let the hive die out. Couldn't see uncapped brood or eggs so figured it was hopeless. Very very weak hive at this point. Left it alone and did not check it for a good while.

To my surprise in August the hive showed signs of revival with new bees flying outside the entrance. (Thought it was being robbed.) The bees had again moved up into the upper box with all new frames. I removed the four old nuc frames from the bottom box and burned them. Like another poster on this thread, I had this chalk brood hive come through the winter just fine and no chalk brood at all this spring which was cold here in the Valley.

I have written this long post to show that my experience does not bear out the conventional wisdom as (1) the chalk brood did not go away in warm weather (2) requeening by me was not necessary although I think the bees did requeen with presumably a queen of the same genetics and (3) after destroying the old frames, the chalk brood never reappeared and its been a year now. Just my experience for what its worth.
 

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The root cause is not the spores it's either chilled brood, not enough ventilation or genetics (lack of hygienic behavior).
I agree with Michael. However, I'd add one other factor that seems to be the cause of the chalkbrood I've witnessed, more often than not. That's the LOCATION of the hive.

Hives that are set in a small "valley" or "hollow" seem to experience less airflow and increased moisture in the mornings. Hives set in a wooded or shaded area can also experience these problems too. Both of these locations seem to lend themselves to increased chalkbrood problems.

The solution is to set them out of the low area, or into an area of increased sunlight. The chalkbrood will clear itself up. If not, requeening may be in order, but in all the cases I've seen, moving the hives clears up what is the equivalent to bee "cold".
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Appreciate all the comments. The hive location is in a shaded area but up on top of a hill that gets lots of breeze. My other 4 are there as well but no chalk. The hive is weakened but I still see orientation flights. The get rid of the old frame jarred an observation that it seemed two frames in particular were most affected. They will be gone tomorrow. Since I have the queen coming, I'll use her. There are some stores building so I think it will be o.k.
Thanks again. It has been helpful:)
Rick SoMd
 
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