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Have you experieced AFB in one of your hives in the past 2 years?

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poll.

The reason I ask is because I never hear about it. I hear about mites, I hear about beetles, I hear about wax moths, I hear about CCD.

I asked my father who has kept bees for about 14 years, has never had it, and has never known any beekeeper in his area to have it.

I have made the poll public so that I can see the regional variation.
 

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Arthur,
I would say that one reason you hear about mites and not so much about AFB is because Varroa destructor has killed more colonies of bees then AFB has, perhaps ever. We know what to do about AFB and varroa is still something we have a hard time handling.

If you haven't experienced AFB then you haven't kept bees long enuf. If you are a beekeeper, you either have had AFB or will have it in the future. Unless you get rid of your bees.
 

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Last two years three cases (suspected). The reason I say suspected is because I didn't send it off for testing but it sure looked and smelled like AFB. I removed them from the yards and burned them. I suspect it came from old comb from hives of others I bought out. So far this year no signs.
 

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Hmm... let me think...it is very distinct and once you smell it you won't forget it...it's usually my first indicator before I even pull the first frames.

It is not a sour smell but more of a spoiled meat but not that strong smell. Usually when you open a hive you get a sweet honey smell...you don't smell that when they have AFB and get this dank slightly spoiled sickly kind of smell. Sorry...it's hard to explain but it's the best I can do. I was lucky to be shown a hive with AFB so I got to smell it first hand.
 

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can someone describe the "smell" of AFB?
The smell is hard to describe, unless you have experience working for a luthier who used hide glue.

Even though, as an inspector, I have walked into an apiary and known by the odor that AFB was there, identifying AFB by sight is something that beekeepers should do. For me, quite often, it starts w/ something being not quite right w/ the colony, which leads me to look a little more diligently at the brood combs. If I don't see anything wrong, brood wise, then maybe I was just wrong. But then looking at the capped brood, one might see sunken capping w/ an oily sheen and punctured cappings. Check out one or more of those punctured cappings and see if there is a brown viscus liquid laying against the bottom side wall of the cell. If so, stick a stick into it and it should rope sorta like rubber cement. That's AFB. 99% sure.

Another thing to look for, which I am doing right now as I put on some deep combs that I got last year, is scale. Scale can be seen in dry comb by holding the frame by the top bar w/ two hands, w/ the sun over your shoulder. Slowly tilt the frame by holding the top bar and raising the bottom bar untill you are looking across the open cells, but not looking straight into the cells, but at the bottom side wall of the cells. If you see a mass in a number of cells, a black mass, that is probably AFB. You won't be able to get the scale out of the cell w/out destroying the comb. Burn those frames.
 
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