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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a hive that has been limping along for some time, with extremely spotty brood patterns except in newer comb, and the hive never seems to build up. I've visually inspected for the common symptoms of foulbrood. The larvae do not melt down or get discolored, and capped pupae stay a healthy white color. There is some odor around the bee yard, but the individual pupae that I pull out of the capped cells have no odor. I think the spotty brood pattern is from pupae dying and being carried out of the hive, since the queen managed to lay a nice solid pattern in freshly drawn comb. But I never see pupae on the ground outside the hive. There are fair number of crawlers, but no deformed wing. Sugar roll test finds 0-1 mite per 300 bees. Could there be viruses lingering from a prior mite infestation?

Today I shook all the bees into a five-frame deep nuc, onto foundation and added a frame of honey and a solid frame of capped brood from another hive. They're queenless and had some capped supercedure cells, but I suspect it would be better to give them a queen cell from a healthy colony rather than let them supersede with possibly diseased stock. Later today I'll give them a capped queen cell from another nucleus.

It would be really nice to diagnose this colony. But my understanding is that Beltsville closed its lab in 2017. Where else can a small-scale beekeeper get testing done?

Any advice/suggestions?
 

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Evening. What happened to the old queen? Seems odd that she would lay a nice pattern in new comb and up and vanish. As far as the superceder cell, I'd let them finish it, if it were of good size. Just my two cents.
 

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Can you take some pictures of the comb and especially the uncapped larva?

More photos the better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I finally dug into the frames and took a bunch of photos. I think that there should be someone here who can easily diagnose my colony's problem from these pix. I just don't know, for sure, but I think there's a lot of physical and behavioral symptoms that someone can tell me if this is foul brood or something else. (I have five hives at another location that are all healthy, even though I've been sharing frames and woodenware and not sterilizing tools and clothing between this yard and the other bee yard. I need to start doing this. )

Here's a link to a Google Photos album . If you can zoom in or enlarge photos that will give you lots of good information.\

https://photos.app.goo.gl/51F8kHXGttzxVc649
 

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6a 4th yr 7 colonies inc. resource hive
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For my part- interesting what you mention about her pattern being better on new comb. If this were my hive I'd get them away from old comb since it can harbor residue. (I think you're onto something with new foundation and a smaller area to defend and heat)

Personally I would let them supercede and feed them aggressively with protein patties and 1:1. If I had ProSweet I would put that on. Ruling out nutritional stress would be a benefit.
 

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LAll, would you take a look at the photos I linked to? That might be helpful if you've seen disease. https://photos.app.goo.gl/51F8kHXGttzxVc649
I did. I'm a 3rd year so please keep that in mind. I look for discoloration of brood. You want white larvae swimming in shiny nectar. Some of that just looks like bee bread and pollen stores. Shotgun brood may not be queen malfunction but rather bad comb. I'm wondering if you have some chalk brood. Thought I saw chalk white mummies. Really hoping an experienced person will look at your pics. You did well with your photographs. Here's a video from YouTube by a beekeeper I respect. It talks about how to spot Chalkbrood. Again, please take what I say knowing I'm pretty new to this too.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGRf-fuM1Wg
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
LAll, Thanks for the effort. The super white look is my phone camera overexposing for the white pupae. They were white but with some features of anatomy. They weren't mummies. I think chalk brood happens more around the end of winter, when there's chilled brood.
 

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To me, it looks like a typical queenless hive where there are insufficient bees to feed larvae properly so they are weak when they emerge. The smell is dead bees in the cells that there are insufficient workers to clean them out. The shotgun pattern shows that the queen was petering out.
My question is why are you trying to save this hive? If it were me, I would shake the hive out and focus on the healthy hives.
 

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If anything, I'd take this suspect unit far and away from my other hives and call it done.
No need to agonize over this suspect and, likely, doomed unit.
In fact, I'd probably end them and just clean the equipment.
At least take measures to prevent them from being robbed.

What is more important - to prevent a possible infection/parasite from spreading, not to beat around this unclear problem all the while risking other bees around.
As long as you have better units, focus on preserving those.
 

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Sorry I didn't go to the second page. It did close in 2017 when trump shut down the government for funding for the wall that Mexico is paying for, but it opened after the temper tantrum subsided. J
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So they haven't updated the website. Good - maybe they're trying to keep the workload low, commensurate with funding cuts. And spending money on diagnosis instead of on publicity.
 

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It looked like there was mite feces in the empty cells. The two white drone pupae both had varroa mites on them. Some cells looked like drones inside of worker cells.
 

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There is one blowhard after another on here tripping over themselves to get in a backhanded remark or dig aimed at someone or something.
With few exceptions all that's left are opinionated big mouth smart alecks.
 
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