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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just split my strong top bar hive one week. I moved three frames of brood and bees to the split. After several days, I noticed a lot of white and dark chalked brood under one of the frames in the new hive. Since they were dry and hard, should I assume the capped brood had died over winter in the existing hive and the new split bees started to clean out the frame or could they have gotten cold and died in the new split?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Could those have been live larvae just a couple of days ago and become that hard and dry in just a couple of days? I found the chalkbrood on the bottom board just three days after making the split. All of the larvae, large and small, looked normal at the time of the split.
 

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I am not an expert on the timing of the progress of chalkbrood. But I came to the conclusion it was due to chilled brood because I only seemed to get it when there was a sudden drop in temperature early in the spring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I guess it happened on one of the very cold nights weeks before I made the split because it has not been very cold since the split. I have the hive well-insulated and tied an electric blanket up under it overnight. That frame of capped brood was probably already dead, but it looked like normal brood. At least it is cleaned out now. I have not seen anymore of it on the bottom board. Three queen cells are already capped so I should have a new queen fairly soon.
 

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Did you only move top bars with bees, or did you shake/brush in any more bees? You need to add extra bees to a split because older bees will all fly back home, leaving the split too understaffed to keep the brood warm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes, I moved three frames with brood, one frame with honey covered with bees and then brushed bees off an additional frame. The new hives is insulated with an electric heater under it at night. What I am actually trying to find out is how long it takes for the dead brood to become hard and chalk-like so I know if they dying in the new hive or quite a while ago in the old hive. It does not seem likely to me that the dead larvae can get that hard in just one or two days.
 

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one frame with honey covered with bees and then brushed bees off an additional frame.
I just always make sure to try to add bees from brood combs to the start/nuc. So when I split like this I take my 3 frames (one honey/pollen) and shake two or three more frames of nurse bees from brood comb into the nuc. Others here have MUCH more experience than I do but I've done this a lot and I run about 98% success on starting nucs/splits in the way. I've also been fortunate in that I haven't had any really cold snaps after my fist splitting time around May 1.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I know I made my split very early this year. I wanted to get the split started before missing the main nectar and pollen flow. I put a rolled up electric blanket under the old hive and insulated it well. I also fed them syrup in front of the hive on moderately warm days in March to stimulate the queen to start laying. It apparently worked and that hive had a huge amount of brood and bees very early. With the electric blanket under them, I saw no chalkbrood. Many bees have emerged in the split over this past week and they just started to forage some yesterday. We will have a chilly night tonight so I will put the electric blanket under the split and throw extra blankets over it. The new queen should emerge early next week.
 

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For me chalk brood seems to show itself in new nuc splits without enough bees especially at the start of the nuc making season. Some bigger hives are susceptible and I requeen those. The Saskatraz stock I started with seems to have a problem with chalkbrood, but it has improved quickly with each generation and some selection.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Can you tell me why requeening helps when there is chalkbrood? I did not think chalkbrood was caused by the queen.
 

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There is a genetic basis for resistance to chalkbrood. Some seem to think hygienic behaviour helps. I don't blame nucs for showing chalkbrood when I stress them and they don't have enough bees. But I have had full grown hives that had piles of chalk brood mummies on the bottom board and in front of the entrance. There was no reason for them to show chalkbrood, the others didn't have it, so I requeened them using queens from better hives. My chalkbrood issues have greatly diminished.
 

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>Can you tell me why requeening helps when there is chalkbrood? I did not think chalkbrood was caused by the queen.

Probably a combination of the genetic tendency to expand too early or too much and hygienic behavior. But it could also be a better immune system...
 

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chalk brood is a bee disease. it is associated with cool damp weather and a poor honey flow. it will almost always clear up as conditions improve. it is not uncommon to see some sack brood disease at the same time. look it up on the ny beewellness site... re-queening always seems to get a hive going, the young queen has stronger pheromones.
 
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