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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I haven’t seen capped brood in either of my only two over-wintered hives in 4 weeks, despite seeing 2-3 frames full of eggs on every weekly visit. After a week, a frame of eggs should be mostly capped brood, or at least very mature larva. But when I’ve returned after a week, a frame that was full of eggs last week is now empty or else re-laid with fresh eggs.

If the hive were short of food I’d think she’d stop laying, no?

I swapped frames of eggs between the two hives last weekend, but this weekend the result was the same: no capped brood or queen cells on those frames, nor on any other.

I didn’t see any brood older than 4-5 days.

Yesterday I found and marked the queens in both hives, for easy removal if necessary 😢😢

One looked very small, and the other looked large and healthy, but neither is producing viable brood.

So even if they’re not un-mated, something else is going wrong, and I don’t have a queen-right hive from which to take queen-able eggs.

Even if I could get a frame of food eggs in there, it’d be 7 weeks until I got new brood from a new queen, and my hives probably would have died out by then.

If I’m going to save these hives I’m pretty sure I need new queens in there ASAP.

Anyone have a theory on what's going on?

Anyone selling queens in stock for immediate delivery?
 

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Have you looked for symptoms of European Foulbrood? That would be a very good fit for the symptoms described.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Have you looked for symptoms of European Foulbrood? That would be a very good fit for the symptoms described.
I have not looked! I'm googling now . . . .

All the pages I'm seeing on diagnosing EFB show a "spotty brood" pattern, but in my case I have zero capped worker brood. Zero. Zilch. Not a one.

There are some cells that are capped, but they look like "small drone" cells, e.g. they're bulbous like a drone cell, but in a standard-sized worker cell. And there aren't many of these, perhaps 5-10 per frame.

Is that still consistent with EFB?
 

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Initially the brood pattern is spotty but as the infection starts to dominate there are fewer and fewer cells reaching the capping stage. I did not notice drone in worker cells but if the queen was being infected that may be possible. In pics below some larvae in 029 are surviving to be capped but twisted, melted and discolored ones are noticeably different than the pearly white healthy ones. Second pic these ones are being taken out and relayed and few are making it to capping stage.

I hope it is something else!
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Waterbug, like SP, my first guess would have been no pollen and the bees were cannibalizing the brood. Next best guess would have been either laying worker or drone queen. But, what do I know. Seems strange. I might try making a split and see if the bees draw out a queen cell with one of the eggs. Still could be EFB, so a test kit may be in order.

I had a nuc that displayed similar symptoms last year. It died before I ran an EFB test.
 

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Anyone have a theory on what's going on?
Yes.

There's the obvious ones that have been mentioned so i won't talk about those.

But there is another that almost nobody realises can cause your exact symptoms. If the hive has been overdosed with oxalic acid in such a way the acid has entered the food supply, larvae just emerged from the egg are killed by far lower concentrations of OA than what is needed to kill an adult bee.


In the early days of my experimenting with OA and sometimes messing up and getting OA in the food supply i sometimes had this issue, sometimes having hives with nothing but eggs for 3 or more weeks. Once i figured out what was happening it could be solved by swapping out the brood feed honey and replacing with something else.
 

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Where i got caught with it was vaporising heavily into single deckers with not much new nectar, all uncapped. i think the OA settled in the nectar at levels fatal to newly emerged larvae from eggs. Repeated this a number of times and was mystified what was going on till i twigged to it, then was able to resolve it.

If there's capped honey in the hive, probably not going to be an issue.

Could probably happen from drizzling also although has not happened to me. But i saw a study (sorry no link), where bees drizzled several times in fall had less brood in spring. They did not say the reason, but likely the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hmmmm. I haven't OAVed since Fall, but I did put in two Apivar strips per hive on December 22, and I didn't get a chance to pull them out until Feb 23, or 8 weeks later. 56 days is supposed to be the maximum allowable duration.

At the time I had ~5-6 frames of bees, so right on the margin between indicating single strip or indicating two strips.

What are the symptoms of amitraz overdose?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If it is EFB, how do I get the required "VETERINARY FEED DIRECTIVE" so I can order some meds?

I can't imagine my cat's vet coming out to visit my hives.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I imagine if you present a vet with a positive result on a test strip, they will write the scrip. Might want to find an agricultural vet, you know, one that does more than take care of Mittens and Fifi.

I will know more later this week after my hives are inspected by the State for the first time.
 

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hey, just staple some hardware cloth over the entrance and wheel the hive into the vet's office, plop the hive down next to Mittens and Fifi's pet carrier. :D
 

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Mr. Waterbug, the vet will see you NOW!
 

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As I understand it, the vet has to actually see the colony. I have always wondered if a brood frame brought to the office for
field testing would suffice.

Although food or pollen dearth, or OT's overdose of OA theory may be possibilities, in my sad experience egg laying w/o progression to fat white grub state (5-6 day old larvae) indicates EFB. Some bees are very tidy so you may not see the skanky dead and dying younger larvae before they are hauled away. The hauling and cell cleaning is, alas, what perpetuates the infection in a colony as it is those same nurse bees which are also feeding freshly hatched larvae their lethal ****tail of brood food and EFB bacteria.

I truly hope I am wrong, but I would get a batch of test kits and do some tests.

Nancy
 

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Hmmmm. I haven't OAVed since Fall, but I did put in two Apivar strips per hive on December 22, and I didn't get a chance to pull them out until Feb 23, or 8 weeks later. 56 days is supposed to be the maximum allowable duration.

At the time I had ~5-6 frames of bees, so right on the margin between indicating single strip or indicating two strips.

What are the symptoms of amitraz overdose?
That slight amitraz overdose would not be the problem.

Also, if you OAV'ed in fall that's unlikely to be the problem either, i just threw it in as a possibility incase you'd done a massive dose recently, but looks like that isn't the case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
As I understand it, the vet has to actually see the colony. I have always wondered if a brood frame brought to the office for
field testing would suffice.

Although food or pollen dearth, or OT's overdose of OA theory may be possibilities, in my sad experience egg laying w/o progression to fat white grub state (5-6 day old larvae) indicates EFB. Some bees are very tidy so you may not see the skanky dead and dying younger larvae before they are hauled away. The hauling and cell cleaning is, alas, what perpetuates the infection in a colony as it is those same nurse bees which are also feeding freshly hatched larvae their lethal ****tail of brood food and EFB bacteria.

I truly hope I am wrong, but I would get a batch of test kits and do some tests.

Nancy
I wonder if bringing a positive test kit into the vet's office would work . . .
 

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are you near an almond grower? from Randy O's site.

But the real red flag was the unexpected presence of an “insect growth regulator”! This surprising discovery suggested a new suspect. An insect growth regulator (IGR), as its name implies, could well be harmless to adult bees, but might prevent queen pupae from being able to molt into adult
I'm guessing if it prevents a queen it would prevent all.

the information is toward the end of his article, I didn't read it all
http://scientificbeekeeping.com/the-case-of-pristine-and-the-dying-queen-cells/
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I'm in a very suburban area, very far from any agriculture. But that's an interesting read.

Things that are different this year from previous years:

  1. Prolonged wet, cold snap. We've been below 70F for 40+ continuous days. Yeah, yeah, I know I'm weeping into my Dom Perignon, but that's very unusual for Los Angeles.
  2. I applied the Apivar, as mentioned above, for the first time ever.
  3. I tilled my 4,000 sf garden, 50' away from the hives, right as all this started happening. I apply no pesticides to my garden, but it is something different, as I usually plow it all up much later in the spring.
 
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