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First Inspection of my Nucs, what's this on my brood?

3293 Views 13 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  biggraham610
I got 2 nucs installed on Father's Day. It's normal for us here to work a bit late into the season because we have frosts through the end of May!

I did my first inspection yesterday. I found very dark brown or black brood in some cells on only 1 frame. These aren't anywhere else on either nucs. The brood are hatched from their egg stage and probably a few days old, but dead and dry - not slimey, not capped. So, I'm pretty confused! I'm adding pictures.

Note, on this frame we have some open brood that are pretty big and matured in the cells, but they have little black specs on them. Clearly, my girls thought there was a reason to kill these brood. But what is the reason? I suspect mites on these ones because the brood is still white with only little specs. And I did see 3 mites in empty cells on the frame. But what about the dried dead ones sitting on the bottom of their cells? Could these just be ones who weren't tended to enough and didn't make it?

Honeycomb Bee Beehive Pattern Insect

Honeycomb Bee Beehive Pattern Honeybee

Honeycomb Bee Beehive Pattern Honeybee

Honeycomb Bee Beehive Pattern Honeybee

Honeycomb Beehive Pattern Bee Insect
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Surprized nobody has responded yet. From what I can make out from the pics it looks a lot like EFB.
Surprized nobody has responded yet. From what I can make out from the pics it looks a lot like EFB.
This is what I suspected, but wanted to come ask some more experienced eyes. It's litterally my first hive inspection ever :)

Thank you, matthew, for the link. Of course, I've already read that limited amount of information. Sadly, the page offers few images to compare and like I said - hoping to confirm with experienced eyes and not just worry myself over suspecions!

I'm prepared to just let the bees sort it out, but I may consider removing the frame after moving it away from the brood nest gradually. It's already on the outside with honey on the outtermost side, so I could probably slip a blank frame inbetween and gradually phase this one out. It won't stop the disease - I know - but it might help considering the bees don't seem to be removing the lavae from these cells? This frame was one of 2 incorporated into my nuc with capped brood and drawn comb to help boost numbers earlier in the Spring.
If it was me I would remove the frame altogether right away.
does it smell foul?
hard to tell in the pictures but the caps look sunken.
do any cappings have little pin holes in them?

efb effects larvae that has not been capped.
afb shows in pupae under the cap.
Looking at the photo's there are many indications that you may have a case of EFB in that hive... Starting with the dead and dieing brood that is uncapped.. There are also indications of brood that has died under the cap where some are sunken.. EFB is treatable, but you should probably get in touch with your state apiarist and have them send off a sample to be tested to make sure...
Where are the Bees? The frame should be crawling, is the hive light on bees? Could it just be chilled brood? G
To answer all questions...

The caps do not appear as sunken as in images I have seen of AFB where the capped brood are effected. They just look to be thinner in wax.

I can only find one with what looks like a pin hole on the whole frame. I looked thoroughly and have good eye sight. There are a few with brood in them that were capped but workers opened them up.

There is no foul smell. I don't know if the brood are puddling in the cells enough to stick to them - I didn't have something small enough with me to try to dig any out.

It's dry and warm here, so EFB is probably really a only a problem when hives are stressed. Since this is a Nuc I transferred last weekend I think I want to take this frame out. Opinions? I'd rather not let it spread and spread. I did move it away from the brood nest and put an empty frame in between this frame and the nest. This is how I would phase it out slowly if I don't just remove it now.

The BEES are...all over! Just not really on this frame. Imagine a 5 frame Nuc. In this Nuc I had 1 full frame of stores, 4 of brood. This is on the outside of the brood nest (5th frame in the Nuc) with honey on the outside and brood - including the dead - on the inside. If I pull one of the 3 center frames from the brood nest there are thousands of bees and my queen in here is really laying a good, solid pattern. The bees are using a quart of 2:1 syrup every few days and drawing out new comb on wax coated plastic frames really quickly.

Aside from this one frame I'm actually really happy with the Nuc!

Would you remove the frame now, phase it out slowly, or let the bees sort it out? They seem to be very hygienic and overall are keeping the hive clean. They're a typical Nuc colony in that I can open up and inspect with no gear on and not be stung, so they don't seem overly stressed by this.
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I've one last question about this frame now that you have explained it more. Since this frame sits on the outside of the 5 frame nuc, and the side that you showed the pics of, does it sit toward the side of the box? If so does this side of the box get the sunshine all day? It may be too hot and actually killing off the bees on that side. If not the sun, i'd just go ahead and give them a standard frame and let them build it out theirself and see what happens. This one in the pics just go ahead and remove it from all hives for a while to see what these bees do..
Some diseases are more important than others to correctly identify, for the health of your bees and for beekeepers in your area.
For example, efb can clear by itself, given the correct conditions and intervention.
afb, on the other hand, is serious enough to bees to warrant regulation and destruction of the hive.

These instructive videos may help:
efb & afb in honeybees part 1:

part 2:
Excellent videos, Clyde. Thank you!

Dr Lanzo - All things considered, clilled brood seems the most likely. I went to visit the beek I got my nucs from and he had a few frames that looked similar with brood who had gotten cold over a 2 day storm we were dealing with. The timing fit.

In the name of experience and curiosity and getting my feet wet, I pulled the frame and gave the bees a blank plastic wax coated frame.

While I don't regret doing it - knowing what I know now, it probably wasn't necessary. I did many stir/string tests - no stringy brood. I looked at the BOTTOMS of the cells, no stuck twisted body parts sticking to the cells. I pulled out and smelled every stage of brood I could find. I also checked for mites and only found 1 after uncapping at least 100 brood. There were a few eggs - not many, 1-2 dozen, on the frame. But otherwise it's not a very full frame and had little pollen and no honey.

I will have the frame tested, just for the knowledge of it. But either some brood got too cold or they have a mild case of EFB and should be able to work through it. There are no signs on the other frames, they have a lot of brood in all stages, the queen is laying extensively, overall the colony doesn't seem impacted.

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This is what the other frames look like...
Lots of budy girls...
Bee Honeybee Beehive Insect Apiary

Building up on the plastic frames coated with wax. I blew on them so I could see the wax - that's why they're moved out in a circle...
Honeycomb Bee Honeybee Beehive Insect
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Chilled Brood is the best possible outcome. I am happy for you. Good luck with your bees. G
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