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Brood being brought out that are unhealthy

 
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Melcbee
House Bee


Joined: 19 Apr 2015
Posts: 12
Location: Bristol

PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 3:13 pm    Post subject: Brood being brought out that are unhealthy Reply with quote

I am helping a friend with her hive that has been neglected. She supports the natural beekeeping method, the hive is a WBC. I inspected it for her. It was 4 boxes high yet upon opening the bottom 3 were a mess of broken comb and cobweb, the mesh on the base stand was chewed through so perhaps a mouse or a rat got in? I found a crown board after the 3rd box and a rather makeshift board atop of box 4. What I discovered was the bees had evacuated themselves to the 4th level, which to make things more complicated was an outer sleeve with no box or frames in it so they have free combed down from the makeshift crown board. I have removed all the dirty apparatus and put in a clean base and put the one free combed box atop it which appears to contain the whole colony. Inspection issues aside due to lack of frames, I have been keeping a close eye on these bees and yesterday and today I can see yellow - brown - black brood being removed onto the alighting board, 10 or so yesterday and around 15 so far today. Is this normal cleansing or could it be a worse scenario such as EFB? Any suggestions of how to proceed with this rather unusual situation gratefully received. I have looked up EFB online, watched videos etc but all suggestions involve inspecting the comb which I cannot do. Thanks everyone
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Barbara
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Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1563
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can you take some photos of the brood that is being deposited outside the hive? It is easiest to do this by hosting them on another site like flicker and then post links.
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Melcbee
House Bee


Joined: 19 Apr 2015
Posts: 12
Location: Bristol

PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 5:36 pm    Post subject: Photo of the brood Reply with quote

https://www.flickr.com/photos/64984663@N08/
Let me know if this is good enough quality. If not i will take another shot. Thanks
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Barbara
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Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1563
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some of it looks like chalk brood.... difficult to make out all of them. Can you put them closer together on a piece of white paper and get a close up shot. Chalk brood is a fungal infection that causes the pupae to become mummified. It is normal for the affected pupae to be removed and will vary in colour from white to grey black usually with a white nib. They have a chalky texture when you break them open, hence chalk brood. As with many fungi, it is associated with damp conditions. Many hives, my own included, have a low level of chalk brood, but sometimes it gets out of hand, particularly if the hive becomes weak. Hopefully if these girls can be persuaded to build down onto new comb in the boxes you have provided below and you can remove that old comb the situation may improve. Sometimes you have flare ups of it depending on atmospheric conditions and hive population and then it settles down a bit.
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Melcbee
House Bee


Joined: 19 Apr 2015
Posts: 12
Location: Bristol

PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 5:14 pm    Post subject: Unhealthy brood Reply with quote

https://www.flickr.com/cameraroll
Hoping this is a link to a better photo, my phone doesn't do a great macro shot. Let me know if its better. Thanks barbara
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1563
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unfortunately that second link just takes me to a Yahoo log in page.

Did you examine the dead pupae with a view to it being possible chalk brood?
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eltalia
House Bee


Joined: 20 Jun 2017
Posts: 24
Location: Australia (Nth. Queensland)

PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Barbara"]Unfortunately that second link just takes me to a Yahoo log in page.

Did you examine the dead pupae with a view to it being possible chalk brood?[/quote]

Ditto for the link Barbara. And I too refuse such
restriction on downloading.

From the earlier pix I concur, chalkbrood.
I attach my first encounter with it.
What you said as advice plus I moved that colony into full sun for a month, the colony grew and was returned to it's owner with advice on monitoring.

Cheers.

Bill

https://ibb.co/nBCgjv
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Melcbee
House Bee


Joined: 19 Apr 2015
Posts: 12
Location: Bristol

PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:08 pm    Post subject: Unhealthy brood Reply with quote

My apologies for flickr link issues, i am not good at uploading stuff. I am fairly sure it is chalk brood from what you have both shared. A final question, would it be advisable to place a brood box beneath these bees for them to build down into in the spring so they can get off this free comb given time? I am thinking they wont be able to do this comb building by the end of this season? Am i correct in this? I am much more familiar with the top bar hive set up. Currently the free comb is the only "box" with the whole colony in it, In the position where a brood box would normally be. Thank you.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1563
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Mel

Yes it is very unlikely that they will build any more comb this year, especially when they are losing so many new bees to chalk brood. You will need to align the brood box you insert, so that, as much as possible the frames are in the same direction as the comb they have already built.... they really dislike building perpendicular to existing comb above or below. It might actually help with the chalk brood to place that brood box and frames under them now as it will give them an area below the nest for damp air to drop into. It may also be that the design of the WBC hive is contributing to the chalk brood if it is in a damp location (or perhaps the roof is not shedding water) because the outer shell basically creates a shaded environment for the inner boxes. If it has a mesh floor, that may also be contributing to a damp environment that is favouring chalk brood.

All that said, I have inspected two hives recently with relatively young colonies one is just a few weeks old and the other belonging to a friend, is just starting their second year and both have disappointingly bad chalk brood, Both are in full sun, so perhaps it may be that climatic conditions are favouring chalk brood mould spores this year although it has not been unduly wet this year here. These two colonies are both in top bar hives. One has a solid floor and the other a deep litter floor. Both colonies were started with swarms from unrelated bees, neither from my own stock which I know to have chalk brood but it never seems to get bad like these two are.
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