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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
sick bees... sacbrood

NY hasd no inspectors this year and I've found a colony with some pretty unhealthy looking brood. Some uncapped cells, dead, black brood... I did the "ropeiness test", and it was not ropey.

I've sent a sample to Beltsville to test for foul brood, but results may take a while to come back. I'm looking for someone local to help ID the problem

What do I do in the meantime? Avoid going into the beeyard at all? If it is AFB, of course I'll burn the hive, but what about the others? I'm afraid of spreading the disease (whatever it may be) to the healthy hives.

UPDATE:
Looks like this is sacbrood. According to this site it can be mistaken for AFB. The more I read, the more I'm certain this is it.

I'm not finding a lot of info on this virus, is it uncommon? Requeening was recommended by more than one source.
 

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Reduce the entrance down in the sick hive so they will not get robbed out. Sterilize your hive tool inside of a very hot smoker after you are in the sick hive. Don't worry about visiting the other hives and causing harm to them. Now is when you need to be checking on the other hives to make sure they don't become infected if it is AFB.
 

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Inspect your questionable hive last until there is no more infection. Are larva white, brown or black? Is there any odor associated? How old is the queen? If you are using leather gloves the other hives have already been exposed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've seen chalk brood, and this isn't it. This brood is black and tar-like, almost like a melted bee in the cell.

There is an odor, but then there are also dead and rotting larvae, too. I would think anything dead and rotting will smell bad.

This was the second hive I was in yesterday. Upon discovery, I closed it up right away, looked on-line for a cause, washed my hands and grabbed a different hive tool and looked through two more colonies.
 

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Have you ever had them inspected before? Who inspected for you the last time? Finger Lakes doesn't say much about where you are. Where are you?

Are you going to the Empire State Honey Producers Summer Picnic at Cornell's Dyce Lab? You could find out about where a club is close to you and get someone to look at your colony for you. Someone who knows what they are looking at.

I'd volunteer, but I don't know where you live.
 

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That sounds an awful lot like EFB (european foul brood), it has a foul odor associated with it and will pass the ropy test every time. Treatment options are basically the same as AFB. But I'm no expert either.
 

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Requeening and a good nectar flow are the best cure for EFB. Antibiotics may rescue what bees are left but is not the best long term remedy. Bad things are gaining resistance to the drugs mostly due to overuse and misuse across the industry. A young vigorous queen is not only more resistant, more importantly the brood cycle is broken long enough to weaken the EFB life cycle as the bees polish the cells and clean out the dead and diseased.
 

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Treatment options are basically the same as AFB. But I'm no expert either.
Hey, your the one who said it, not me. Your last statement is correct, but not what came before. EFB can successfully be treated w/ TM and requeening and you don't have to burn the frames and scorch the supers.

EFB symptoms:
1. The larvae lies uneasy in its cell: no longer neatly coiled at the base of the cell, but in some unnatural position.
2. A change of colour from pearly white to an off-white or creamy colour, sometimes w/ a hint of green.
3. Loss of surface detail: a 'melted' appearance.

The above is from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Beekeeping.

In 20 years of Apiary Inspection in NY, some of which was in The Finger Lakes area, I never saw a case of EFB. I'm not saying that it isn't possible. But I'd be surprised to see it.

Now, Ohio? That is a different story. I recall seeing it there.
 

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Some uncapped cells, dead, black brood... I did the "ropeiness test", and it was not ropey

This brood is black and tar-like, almost like a melted bee in the cell



From everything you've described, it sounds like a textbook case of Sacbrood. No cure, just like the common cold it usually passes if you take care of the hive. Feed, re-queen, etc...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yes, this does appear to be sacbrood. I couldn't find a lot of info on this virus, but once I did find pictures of it, I'm certain this is what it is.
 
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