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Author Topic: Help for brood malady  (Read 1820 times)
rsteffens
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« on: October 02, 2008, 12:44:55 PM »

Hello Everyone!

I'm new to beekeeping, and am really enjoying it!  I have four hives and actually harvested about thirty lbs of excess honey my first year.  Exciting!  But I have a problem.  One of my hives (the weakest one) has been showing bizarre symptoms for some time.  About 6 weeks ago, I started noticing a small number of brood being deposited outside of the hive.  Sometimes one or two, up to five or six, every few days.  The brood sometimes looked white, and sometimes brownish, at all different stages of development.  I opened up the hive and found that most of the trays didn't have a good brood pattern, and most of the brood didn't look healthy.  It wasn't shining white, but rather dull looking, sometimes brownish.  I think I ruled out the symptoms of AFB--the brood wasn't at all stringy, didn't stink, and the cappings were not sunken, although some of them looked rather perforated.  Based on comparisons to my disease symptoms in my books, I thought it was probably EFB.  So I medicated with terramycin, (3 doses, spaced at 1 week intervals).  I stopped seeing the brood outside the hive for a few weeks. But for the past week or two, I have noticed one or two dead brood outside the hive again, every few days!  I haven't yet checked inside the hive.  This seems strange to me.  If I have EFB, shouldn't the antibiotic have taken care of it?  Another beekeeper in my area said I should re-queen. 

Any Suggestions?

Thanks!
Randy Steffens
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2008, 03:11:17 PM »

Did some of the dead larvae look like chalk?  Little white and black oblong thingies that build up over time on the bottom board?

If so then that is chalkbrood and the best way to recover from a bad case like you (if it is...) have is to requeen as soon as possible.

Fill out your location on your profile too...they can probably make it to spring with this queen if you are in the frozen north like I am.  It is getting pretty late to be thinking about requeening here.

Rick
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rsteffens
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« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2008, 03:42:36 PM »

No, they didn't look chalky at all.  Just different shades of brown, some rather gooey looking.

I live in central Tennessee.

Thanks,
Randy
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2008, 12:05:28 AM »

No, they didn't look chalky at all.  Just different shades of brown, some rather gooey looking.

I live in central Tennessee.

Thanks,
Randy

Sounds like either sacbrood or chill brood.  Both usually end up as brown gooey sacs and are usually found in hives with more brood to care for than worker bee to attend to them. 
If sacbrood feeding terrimycin can help.  If chillbrood reduce the hive size and feed Honey-B-Healthy or cider vinegar in the syrup.

If feeding an antibiotic doesn't work consider shaking the brood frames free of bees and replace them with frames of stores.  This removes the infected brood and frames and induces a break in brood production that should quell the infection of what ever it isand giveing the bees a chance to over come it.  Removing the brood frames will also remove most of any varroa infestation which only aids the disease.

Hopefully, when the queen begins to lay eggs agin, she will be doing so on un-infected comb.

The shaking of the bees like this also works for EFB or AFB when antibiotics fail as the excess pathogens are held in the comb.  Reducing some amount of pathogens aids the bees in overcoming them.  Almost all bees carry pathogens of various sorts, but w hive dies when one or more of those pathgens reaches a tipping point and they overwhelm the bees.  86ing the comb usually removes enough of the pathogens to put things back in balance. 

There has been some research along this line in Central Canada focusing on EFB.
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rsteffens
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« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2008, 09:03:33 AM »

Thanks for this info.  Since this is my first year, I don't have any excess frames to replace the ones I remove. (Each of my hives has 2 deeps brood chambers.  The top one is completely full of honey, and the bottom is mostly being used for brood)  Should I try medicating again?

Thanks so much!
Randy
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2008, 09:31:39 AM »

Hmm...I wouldn't think that 1 year old comb would be too contaminated with pathogens yet.  But it doesn't take too much to have them redraw it.  And if you are getting chilled brood scattered throughout a frame, then there is a big problem with the strength of the hive.

TN is different from MI in ways unknown to me, but I doubt that they will be drawing comb anymore this year.  If the population seems otherwise strong, perhaps you can just leave them till next spring and then cull the bottom comb and requeen then.  You won't be getting too many cycles of brood anymore this year. 

I would recommend sending in a sample to the beltsville lab to get a specific diagnosis.  The bees sometimes work in unexpected ways, as do the diseases...
http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=7473

It is hard enough trying to figure out what the bees are doing not to mention playing doctor when they get sick Cry

Rick
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2008, 09:20:54 PM »

As you move into fall and winter they will uncap and haul out the drone brood plus they will uncap and haul out mite infested brood.
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rsteffens
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« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2008, 09:52:53 PM »

Thanks for all your help!  I really appreciate it.

Randy
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