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Unidentified poo on hive floor - wax moth?

 
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coates53
New Bee


Joined: 01 Sep 2014
Posts: 5
Location: North Devon, UK

PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:52 pm    Post subject: Unidentified poo on hive floor - wax moth? Reply with quote

Hi all,

We found quite a lot of poo on the floor of our hTBH when we had a look in. I tried posting this with a url link to a picture i uploaded to photobucket but when i tried to submit the post it said that i needed to have done 5 posts before i can include a url link in a post - i have only just registered. So i will have to describe the poo as best i can. I've ruled out rat or mice. The pellets are cylindrical in shape with flat ends (ie. not tapered) and measure 7mm long by 3mm wide. They have a textured surface (ie. not smooth), are lightish brown in colour with white at one end.
Any ideas what is causing this and what might we need to do/not do about it? Could it be wax moth? We were only having a brief look in the ends of the hive to see if we needed to add another top bar, the weather wasn't that great for investigating further at the time so we haven't seen any other evidence of what it could be?

Any ideas would be much appreciated. Many thanks.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1581
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds more like bird droppings to me. Definitely not wax moth I can assure you..... Maybe a bat but the cylindrical shape with flat ends and white at one end is typical of bird poop. Have you looked inside the hive?

Oh and welcome to the forum! Smile
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R Payne
Foraging Bee


Joined: 11 Apr 2011
Posts: 123
Location: USA, Kansas, Wichita

PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My first thought from the "white on one end" is either bird or reptile. Their physiology is such that the "urine" is excreted in the form of uric acid through the same opening as the feces resulting in a bit of white on the feces.
In a hive, I'd suspect reptile (perhaps a small snake) over bird.
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coates53
New Bee


Joined: 01 Sep 2014
Posts: 5
Location: North Devon, UK

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

Thanks very much for your suggestions. The white reminded me of bird poo but i can't see how they could get in.
I've had a look at pictures of reptile & bat poo online & it doesn't resemble them - frustrating that i can't post a picture! We're hoping to have another look at the weekend & i'll see if my partner can find a way to get an image into a post.
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coates53
New Bee


Joined: 01 Sep 2014
Posts: 5
Location: North Devon, UK

PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahhhh, so on closer inspection (& i'm really not sure how we missed this before) the unidentified poo is not poo at all, it appears to be the desiccated bodies of either (headless) bees or larvae. The brown colour is potentially mold? So any new ideas of what might have caused this. We are hoping to have a look in the afternoon.

Thanks!
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1581
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In that case, it is most likely chalk brood. Don't know why I didn't think of that when you first posted, but was so focused on what species of poo it might be, I didn't think any further. Yes, I can see how you could mistake chalk brood mummies with bird poop.

Most hives have a small amount of chalk brood. It is a fungal infection. I think of it a bit like eczema or asthma, in that it can be managed but flares up every now and then. My bees have a tendency to drag the calcified corpses under the follower board and leave them there for me to hoover out. The spores are retained in the brood nest, so it is recommended to cycle out old comb, although I tend not to and I don't find it gets any worse as a result and I doubt very much I would be able to eradicate it, as all my colonies have it. I think it may partly be down to location.... my hives are in the bottom of a valley next to a stream, so the conditions are on the damp side which of course, fungus prefers.

Anyway, if you are concerned, do some research on it, but I don't worry greatly about it. My bees have had it as long as I've had them.... 17-18yrs with no major problems.

Regards

Barbara
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coates53
New Bee


Joined: 01 Sep 2014
Posts: 5
Location: North Devon, UK

PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Barbara, you were spot on, it is chalk brood. Thanks for that, it's good to know what's going on. I've had a brief read about it so far & most say that strong colonies can deal with it, some suggested that requeening might be necessary, have you ever done that? Our hives are not in a damp spot, it's pretty airy but the grass is a bit long underneath so we'll cut that back to help with air flow & keep an eye on them.
Thanks again, much appreciated!
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1581
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, I've never requeened for it. I believe in maintaining the integrity of the colony wherever possible, so I don't swap things around unless it's absolutely essential. Also, the strain of bees I have, arrived as a swarm 18 yrs ago and I don't want to deliberately bring any other non local genetics into my apiary.
And of course my bees cope with the chalkbrood, so after a while you don't see it as a problem.
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coates53
New Bee


Joined: 01 Sep 2014
Posts: 5
Location: North Devon, UK

PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's good to know, we don't fancy interfering with the colony by artificially changing the queen.
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