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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking for diagnostic key to honeybee diseases. Something similar to a dichotomous key used to identify plants. It would be a practical method of diagnosing honeybee diseases. This has been a real challenge for me, and have spent considerable time on the internet trying to find one. Does anyone know where such a key could be found?

Thanks
 

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I have never seen one. I wondered about this earlier in my carrier too. The best thing you can do is gain knowledge about diseases, pests and predators of honey bees and learn how to recognize them. You might want to look for the book "Pests, predators and diseases of honeybees". It should be in every beekeepers library.

Where a key like that could be a good tool for someone who doesn't get to get into bee hives very often, it would have slowed down my inspections as an Apiary Inspector.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Sqkcrk,

Thanks for the input. You are right about gaining knowledge as you gain experience, and ultimately dignosis should be easily made by a visual inspection. The goal I have with the diagnositc key I am looking for Is to present this as a learning tool to a group of mixed experience newbies. Largely newbies.

Morris
 

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I understand. Good luck. Maybe if you asked some folks like Dewey Caron or Jim Tew, maybe they have something you could use.

There are some publications that are well illustrated, w/ color photos and written descriptions of what to look for.

I don't know how a key like that would work exactly, not like plant ID anyway. Do you mean something like, What to look for regarding AFB or EFB or varroa mites?

I'm sure that if you got hold of the P,P and D book that I told you about, you could make up a simple list of your own. Each Disease, pest or predator mentioned there in has a list of what to look for and how to look for it.

Are there some diseases or pests in Oregon that you don't have to worry very much about? In NY EFB is, or has been, pretty rare. In 20 years of Apiary Inspection I think I only saw one case. If I saw it now I probably wouldn't recognize it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
sqkcrk,

The idea was to plug in visual symptoms and follow a pathway to an identification.

Just off the top of my head, the only problem that we don't have here in Oregon is small hive beetles.

Morris
 

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There are plenty of books that can do that for you. You just have to turn the pages instead of typing in words and pushing a button. All beekeepers should have at least 1 book that can help them with that.
 

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wikipedia list

go to this link and print it out. it is actually pretty good as a portable ID method and information.

Big Bear
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everyone for the advice. The Wilipedia listing was nicely organized. If I go the route of making the key myself, I would do somewthig similar to the order in Wilipedia, however I would change it so that the main catagories would be Brood, Adult bees, etc.
 

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sqkcrk,

The idea was to plug in visual symptoms and follow a pathway to an identification.

Morris
Yeah, I got that, but I don't know what to tell you to do, other than to look at each disease, pest and predator and see if it makes sense to develop such a key. Then go ahead and do it. Maybe you could sell it. Best of luck.
 

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Such a key has been developed two times to my knowledge, once at Penn State in '93 (bee aware) and once in Greece in '02... Both were "expert systems" where the software would ask you questions, narrow the answers down and ultimately give you a disease diagnosis. Unfortunately, neither one is available online. A few months ago I started toying w/ making one myself, and got as far as writing the couplets, however it's been on the backburner as things picked up at work.
Of course, nothing will ever replace the eye of an experienced beekeeper in disease diagnosis, however I also thought a dichotomous key would be a great training tool for the beginner.
Keep an eye on the Virginia Tech Apiculture program website in the near future. In the meantime, I'd be happy to share my couplet ideas if you wish to send me a note: [email protected].
 

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My concern with a dichotomous key along these lines would be the very nature of dichotomies. That is, a dichotomy is either this, or that. Bee diseases can be very easily -- and often are -- this and that. I would be concerned that someone might use the key, hit a first positive, settle on that result, and fail to find other results.

Just as an example, if a hive has chalkbrood and tracheal mites and Varroa mites, which one would a person using a dichotomous key select? They could pick "Varroa" and miss both chalkbrood and tracheal mites as problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Kieck,

You make a good point. A SYNDROM can include multiple overlaping symptoms, especially with PMS. As I move ahead with making up the key, I will take this inoto account. Thanks for your input.
 
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