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Discussion Starter #1
Both of my hives have chalkbrood, or maybe stonebrood, I’m not sure. I can see the heads of larvae and they are white and shiny. The dried larvae often fall out when I tip the frames. The brood disease emerged about 6 weeks ago in Hive 2, but only about 3 wks in Hive 1.

There are eggs in both hives, however, number of capped brood seems very low (only about a 2 frame faces in each hive).

Queen 1 hatched from a small swarm cell that I missed. She is only 6wks old and still laying some pairs of eggs in each cell. Queen 2 is a little bigger and hatched in early summer from a hive split.
I’d consider both hives weak at this time and I’m concerned about preparing for winter.

My thought is to cull Queen 1 and combine the hives and start feeding syrup. I'm concerned that disease and brood levels will remain a problem. Any suggestions welcome.

Thanks
 

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Many of those types of diseases can be remedied through requeening, brood breaks, and/or putting the hives in a warmer location. It being autumn definitely throws a wrench into that since it is cooling down, but its always worth a shot.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm in southern British Columbia, thus it's very late to re-queen. I wonder what 'brook breaking' means?........
 

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probably can't do it this time of year, but its when you remove the queen and you get to a point where there is no brood in the hive, only adult bees and stores.
 

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I would merge the two like you said and do fumidil drenches on the combined hive every 3 or 4 days. what have you done for mite treatments mite levels?? The fumidil drench seems to work on more than Nosema.
 

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I would replace the queens with known good genetics of purchased queens. Chalk can run in the genetics, and I always requeen hives with outside genetics when it happens to me, which it has not in many years now. Also I would make sure they have upper vent and reduced lower entrance. This is what I'd do myself, not saying it's the only thing to do. If it was earlier in the year, I'd remove all brood frames but I'd say it's to late now to do that in your location.
 

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I know you said chalk and maybe stone brood. However I did not hear anything about mummies or mite treatment. Without photos and with the info we have so far my guess is pms. If that's the case you may well loose them by the end of January. If you don't have tf bees and / or are not trying to be tf, treat for mites asap as it's worth a try. Look up the thread anatomy of a mite crash. If it is mites combining may well not help. And post pics and what treatment you have done. I'd be happy to be proven wrong....
Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
IMG_20200921_134450969.jpg

Photo

It's been dry and warm here (above 50F). I do have mites. Will begin administering oxalic acid vapor tomorrow. There are less than 10 'mummies' on each hive bottom. None at entrance (I have reducers in with medium size opening).

Hive 1 only has about 3 frames of bees left...........fast decline! Hive 2 is mostly full of bees. New bees are rare in both hives.

I located vendor of 2 New Queens, however, it is getting too late? I'm in near north Washington border. Also, would I need to replace all brood frames before introducing queen? Other options?
 

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The bees are de-capping and removing pupa.
That pic looks to me like heavy varroa infestation. Looks to be in very bad shape. Varroa infestations that bad can cause brood problems that changing a queen may not fix. It's not to late to requeen, but I don't think the chances of it helping is high enough to warrant the time and expense. I think you should do your OAV treatments every 3-5 days until mite drops get down to manageable levels. keep syrup on them if they are in any way light in stores. Be sure to keep on top of the ongoing OAV treating, don't stop it until you get only a very few mite drops. Hopefully you can stop the damage and get at least the stronger one through winter. You may decide to combine them after you get the mites under control, but I would not combine them until they are.
Best of luck.

That's just what it looks like to me from just the one single pic.
 

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I'm with Ray - that looks like varroa. I would treat with MAQS, then afterwards I'd newspaper combine with an over-Wintered nucleus colony, assuming you could get one this late in the year. They will need more than a re-queening kick start. Combining with a strong nuc' colony usually works. This is also a good solution for EFB, Chalk brood, and Stonebrood. - the MAQS is for the mites.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks Ray & Charlie! I just gave them their first dose of OAV...........will repeat every 3-5 days. I'll hold-off on re-queening.

I'm curious how you could tell mites vs. brood disease from the photo?

Appreciating the feedback from California!

Michael
 

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...I'm curious how you could tell mites vs. brood disease from the photo?

Appreciating the feedback from California!

Michael
Well, experience I guess. It's not AFB, the pupa are not mushy, it could be EFB I guess, but I can't make out good enough detail of the young eggs/open larva on this computer, but it really doesn't look like it from what I can tell. But here's the deal, every deadout I've had from Varroa the brood looks like your pic. And, it's the time of year for varroa crash. There's pupa being removed, the open cappings, etc. It's the classic look of heavy varroa infestation. You can see pupa there, they are white, not discoloured or soft mushy or anything, just dried some. It's not chalk, chalk brood looks like hard mummies. I can't think of any other way to describe what I see, other than that looks like varroa crash. Be prepared to not save them because it looks pretty bad to me. But do give it a try, OAV properly applied over time may just dig them out of the rut. Best of luck to ya.
 

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I have successfully treat chalkbrood with a mixture of powdered sugar and pickling lime. Make a 50/50 mixture and sprinkle about a cup on the top bars of the brood box. I'm in northern Florida and chalk brood was spreading thru my hives. I tired many recommended remedies and nothing helped. Happened to run in to a local three generation beekeeper who gave me the info, his grandfather theory was it changed the Ph of the hive which killed the chalk brood. Not sure the chemistry involved but it worked. I've not had chalk brood in six years since.
 

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Not EFB, which kills the larva worms (you can see them turn yellow) before they become pupae. The smell is similar to sour milk.

AFB is bad news - smells like rotten garbage. Though there is a treatment, I would still burn the bees and the hive equipment, or you are just building an apiary that is dependent on the AFB treatment.

I see neither of these in the photo, your nose is one confirmation. Another for AFB is the toothpick test. If you poke through an infected cell (capped or with a small hole in it, especially if a "tongue" ((proboscis)) sticking out the hole) the goo comes out on the toothpick as "ropey" - a long string of goo. Again, it STINKS a lot.

Pick up a copy of Dr. Keith Delaplane's book, First Lessons in Beekeeping, as it covers all this thoroughly and with excellent photographs. It is an update of Camille Pierre Dadant's 1920 bookof the same name. IMO, Delaplane's version is still the best introductory book on beekeeping, though I have not yet read all of them. With all the new research and diseases, he will need to update it again when we have enough answers to all the recent problems.

Another good one, a bit older, is Dr. Roger Morse's book, The New Complete Guide to Beekeeping, though it is not nearly as well illustrated - photos are black and white. Other than that, asking here on Beesource can usually give a range of good solutions to many problems.

Notice that I did not recommend oxalic acid vapor, though it may work. Formic acid is an absolute kill for varroa destructor mites. All of them, if it is applied correctly. The pads go on top, because the fumes go down in the hive. Best strategy seems to be to do this in a well-ventilated hive, with the queens removed or replaced immediately.

Notice also that I did not recommend re-queening. They will need a newspaper combine with a strong nuc' or full colony this late in the year, and one with an excellent laying queen, please. Please get on it and do not delay. This gives them a hello of a lot better chance to make it over Winter. By doing this, you are buying the bees some critical time.
 
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