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Hi everyone.

Do you look for a certain color on brood cappings to alert you to possible brood disease? I have a couple of hives that aren't doing as well as I'd like, and it just so happens that the cappings on most all of the brood are very dark, with one hive having some cappings that look like the bees started chewing out and then stopped.

Wonder if this is coincindental or if I should look more.

TIA
 

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>Do you look for a certain color on brood cappings to alert you to possible brood disease?

Brood cappings have to breathe. As Huber discovered more than two hundred years ago, a new swarm will do this by mixing pollen in with the wax. As soon as there are cocoons in the brood comb, the bees will chew out cocoons and mix this with the wax instead of the pollen. The result is that a newly hives swarm (or package) makes very light colored caps (from pollen), while a more established hive makes darker caps (from cocoons). As the brood comb gets darker, so do the caps as they also reuse some of the comb to make caps and the comb in a brood nest gets dark from a variety of contributions including what some people call "travel stain" and cocoons and this makes the cappings get darker.
 

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Yes. Watch out for different colors and the greassy looking capings which could be an indication of AFB. Another bad sign is if the cappings are sunken.
 

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some cappings that look like the bees started chewing out and then stopped.
Could be a bad sign.

If the hole in the cap is round and in the middle and the larva inside is white, it's just the bees have not finished making the cap. But if there is a jagged hole then the bees may be ripping the cap off because the larva inside is dead. In which case you will need to discover why. Causes could be starvation, chilling, varroa mites, sac brood or AFB, among others.
 
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