Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

Deformed Wings

1237 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  GLOCK
I currently have 8 hives, 6 of them establishing nucs. I was doing my first inspection on the nucs today and noticed, through thousands of bees, that about 3 or 4 of them had deformed wings.

Of those noticed, 3 were nurse bees, the other a drone.

I understand that DWV is a result, typically, of varroa mites. I did treat for varroa earlier this spring and their numbers are currently very low.

Obviously 3 or 4 is a very low number, but should I be concerned?
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
How did you get your number on the varroa count? Sugar roll, bottom sticky board, etc. If it was from a sugar roll that means 3 to 4 percent load wich is ok. DWV is a result of varroa mites true, but they could have been hold overs from last fall at this point with exception to the drone. Just keep a good eye on your varroa count and if it goes above a 10 with sugar roll, then it's time to work with the problem some more.
I think meant that you saw 3 or 4 bees with deformed wings? And that wasn't a mite count, right?

While it's not great to see any, it probably isn't a big number given the thousands and thousands of bees in a single colony. Keep an eye on it, though, and keep watching your mite levels like a hawk.

I occasionally see a set of bad wings, too. Poor creatures.

DWV predates Varroa in North America. It can be vectored from flower nectar and other sources. Varroa, however, is a very efficient propagator of the virus. Varroa are essentially micro hypodermic needles directly injecting hemolyph from one doomed bee to the next.

DWV is easily observed, so is a good proxy for Varroa -- it can be detected by undertaker bees ejecting crippled but still living bees without even opening the hive.

What you need to learn (effectively from experience, and poorly from a message board) is what level of DWV is the natural background for your climate and hives, and what level represents incipient Varroa problems.

There is no shortcut to experience. Do a mite test (sugar shake is not destructive to small nucs). Use that hard data to correlate with the observed DWV -- crippled bees on the porch, or crawlers on the ground.
You better take the DWV as a warning and do a alcohol wash and see how your VARROA load is.
If for some chance you have high numbers now you'll have a mess by JULY If you don't treat.
Good luck.
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.