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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was checking my hives yesterday and saw what looked like EFB in two hives. There was no smell, but they had poor brood patterns and yellow/brown larva. One hive had been weak all spring but I thought it was just a failing queen, but the other had been strong until this inspection. Is there anything else it could be or of EFB a safe assumption?

Foul Brood.jpg
 

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Looks like it to me, too, from your picture. But other things can look like EFB, especially in a single photo. There is only rarely a smell. Twisted, discolored larvae that eventually turn to goo; dried scales that are easy to remove, and no roping are the cardinal signs. What catches my eye in an EFB colony is that the queen may be laying, and young larvae (1-3 days since hatching) are seen but there is an absence of the late-stage, fat, pearly-white larvae, because most of them are dying before they reach that age. A few that are infected late (or more resistant) may begin pupating but die under the cappings so a few cells with holes are sometimes seen with EFB. But, unlike AFB, most infected brood dies before it is capped, so you won't see swathes of perforated cappings like you would with AFB.

I would immediately test that hive with one of the Vita field test kits. Buy two in case you mess up the first one inadvertently; they are not hard to do, but you would't want to wait out another shipping period. You need answers as fast as possible. You can also send a comb to Beltsville (and perhaps some place closer to you out west.)

And also immediately put in place strict practices to avoid spreading it to another hive: separate tools and gloves; move no equipment or bees from this hive to any other; prevent robbing; do whatever it takes to prevent a swarm from leaving your apiary (all hives, not just this one.)

If you have a state bee-inspection system, call for an inspection. Start trying to line up a vet who can prescribe antibiotics if you are willing to go that route. At a minimum, you will need a full set of fresh equipment to shake these bees into.

Don't dither. Even if you don't want to do anything (such as treat or do a shook swarm), you must know what you are dealing with.

EFB sucks!

Nancy
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies. All the symptoms match but I ordered some test kits to confirm. If a get a positive test my plan is to euthanize the infected hives and try to get my hands on some oxy tet to treat the rest of the yard.

And it was shaping up to be such a great year.
 

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Just a heads up.

Check into local conditions to get OxyTet. You may not be able to get a prescription to treat colonies that are not showing positive signs. That would be considered prophylactic treatment. To get a veterinary feed directive the vet may want to actually view the infected frames, see pictures etc., A regular pain in the patooty!

We are having a meeting shortly with the local vet who has had his techs. take a course on prescribing for bees. They will be filling us in on their pre conditions for prescribing antibiotics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well that escalated quickly...

I now have six hives showing symptoms. I have a couple that I recently re-queened that are not yet laying but I'm down to a single healthy, queen-right hive. That hive is located about a hundred yards from my other hives so their may still be hope for that one.

:(
 

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Oh, man, I am truly sorry to hear that it has spread!

Put very diligent cross-contamination protocols in place: separate gloves, tools, etc. No moving of equipment. Get robbing screens on the sick hives ASAP. And don't move anything, even your "healthy" colony out of your yard to avoid spreading the bacteria locally. At the height of my troubles I refused to allow visitors to come to my yard.

One colony you could probably afford to euthanize and destroy the equipment, but once you are looking at multiple colonies, then you need to figure out how to get the gear you own cleaned up.

Hope the test kits arrive soon. Have you called for an inspection? That may provide help for you to locate an vet and get a VFD for all the colonies. (I would also treat treat every colony in the yard, even the ones that are non-symptomatic.)

Although I realize there are different strains of EFB, some more or less resistant to Oxytet, I would not let that stop me from trying it. My experience was that it arrested further spread among the non-symptomatic (but definitely exposed) colonies and even within frankly symptomatic colonies it started to turn things around almost immediately (between the first and second dose.)

The kits ought to be with you soon, and then you'll know.

EFB sucks!

Nancy
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks Nancy. I got a vet to order me some oxytet, it should be here late this week. I'll test as soon as the kits come in and start a double shook swarm plus antibiotic treatment when I get a confirmed diagnosis.
 

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To save costs when doing a double shook swarm, I would use cardboard fake brood boxes for the first step. After all the boxes they get shaken into aren't going to be holding a lot of weight of honey or brood. Maybe you could dummy something up that's roughly the right size and then staple on something like a frame rest to hold frames for the first step. It doesn't have to be the normal number of frames either. You just want a place for the bees to be contained while the nurse bees, away from the brood combs, metabolize all the EFB bacteria in their guts (which doesn't make them sick). The re-shake them on to clean equipment and begin to treat. (Or maybe give them the first dose while in the first step box?)

Afterward you can burn the fake boxes used in the first shook swarm. I would also be tempted to use my oldest and rattiest combs to park them on during the first stage (assuming you have some that aren't contaminated y exposure to EFB.) Then burn those, too. It's a pity there isn't some kind of cheap-o frame/foundation thing for exactly this purpose. I suppose you could make disposable foundationless frames. You don't care how wonky they draw them out .....

Maybe there's a business opportunity here - supplying short-term gear for double shook swarms????

EFB sucks!

Nancy
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That looks better. After a double shook swarm and three rounds of Tylosin (apparently oxytetracycline was backordered by Tylosin is also approved) I'm not seeing symptoms in any of my hives. I'll be watching for any reinfections but things look good for now. Thanks for the help!
 

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interesting last I knew toslin wasn't registered for efb, so I did a search and found this which I had never run across b/4

Now I will discuss what I think is happening with a secondary infection due to mites. Mites can transfer EFB in a few ways, the first being when they enter the royal jelly before the cell is sealed. If the mite had the bacteria on its body, it could transfer bacteria to the brood food in the cell. The second method of EFB transfer is if the mite contained the bacteria inside the body, it could spread EFB through feeding. In this case, the mite would have to feed on the larvae once it’s free from the royal jelly. This would mean the larvae, now between 7½ and 8 ½ days old, has been infected with the bacteria.
https://beeinformed.org/2013/04/05/european-foulbrood-efb-identification/


Tylosin is another broad spectrum antibiotic used to treat gram positive organisms, EFB is a gram positive bacteria but I have heard rumors from beekeepers that this antibiotic does treat EFB.
 
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