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Author Topic: Deformed Wing Virus? How worried should I be?  (Read 7154 times)
lisascenic
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« on: June 30, 2010, 08:34:12 PM »

Today I noticed several bees in my garden with clearly deformed wings.  We've got two hives, neither of which have exhibited signs of varroa infestation.  








And a link to my blog:

http://howsrobb.blogspot.com/2010/06/deformed-wing-virus.html

We are new beekeepers, and we are committed to following organic practices.  What I'm wondering is how seriously I should take this.  Both colonies are bringing in tons of nectar, building comb like champions, and raising lots of big juicy larvae.  Things look good.  

I assume that every colony has a certain degree of unhealthiness, and that unless it reaches a certain level, I should just monitor the situation.  But am I being too casual?

We stuck the IPM board under the hive that seemed to be the source of the bees with deformed wings, and will check it in 48 hours.  What else should I be watching?

« Last Edit: June 30, 2010, 09:27:14 PM by Robo » Logged
annette
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« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2010, 10:42:59 PM »

Not sure but it looks like tattered wings to me like they have worked themselves to that point.
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lisascenic
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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2010, 10:51:21 PM »

The bee's head on the second photo is pretty fuzzy, so I thought she was a young 'un.

But what do I know?
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annette
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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2010, 11:50:38 PM »

Lets hear from more experienced beeks on this one.
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Spomenko
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« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2010, 01:18:26 AM »

Get extensions, and treat ant acid, keeping open the hive, the bees would be able to come in during the operation of an acid ,closed hive on top .. if you know how it is treated with ant-acid, weather conditions, temperature. Mast be cautious because it is a strong acid .
  In the afternoon, back extensions with honey.
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lisascenic
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« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2010, 01:36:14 AM »

Ant acid???

is this formic acid?

I'm really curious about how to know when this is a serious problem, as opposed to a small issue.
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Spomenko
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« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2010, 01:48:06 AM »

Formic acid,yes.
It is serious problem, as opposed to a small issue you see,bat insaid,in larva huh
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2010, 02:10:23 AM »

"Several" wouldn't worry me much.  "A lot" would.
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lisascenic
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« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2010, 02:22:02 AM »

I take a *lot* of photos when I do hive inspections, and I *never* see varroa mites.  So the deformed wing thing surprised me.

On the other hand, I *never* see my queens, either.  But I know that they're in there, somewhere!

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Spomenko
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« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2010, 02:28:55 AM »

Varroa,....You will hardly see them, running from daylight, and the queen should be marked.
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Robo
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« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2010, 07:43:44 AM »

I take a *lot* of photos when I do hive inspections, and I *never* see varroa mites.  So the deformed wing thing surprised me.


Varroa is not that easy to spot, especially in photos.  A lot of the time varroa will be on the bottom on the bees where they secrete wax (this is very noticeable in an observation hive when they walk on the glass).  The easiest way I have found to get a rough idea of varroa is to rip open 10 sealed drone brood cells.  The dark varroa can easily be spotted on the milky white pupae.  If you see more than a few of the ten with varroa,  I would then take a deeper look.

As far as DWV,  I agree with Michael,  I would not be concerned with just a few.  I occasionally run across it and have not had issue.

And yes,  marked queens are nice,  especially if you don't want an emergency supercedure queen.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2010, 08:11:13 AM »


And yes,  marked queens are nice,  especially if you don't want an emergency supercedure queen.

I'm confused.

Marking a queen eliminates any emergency supercedure queens from developing? Is this a new rationale for marked queens? "Mark them if you do not want the dreaded emergency queen in your hive!"

Or are you suggesting that one week you have a marked queen, and several weeks later you do not. And by some rationale, you can determine the new queen is an emergency queen? As opposed to a swarm queen, normal supercedure replacement, or anything else? I think if you find an unmarked queen in the hive at a later period of time after you had a marked queen, it would be hard to determine how she was raised. If you got a good laying queen and she is unmarked, then it tells you that you do not have the same queen. But little else. And if you were diligent enough to know emergency queens are being made due to a previous marked queen being smashed, I do not see the connection of having a marked queen in the desire to not have emergency queens. Those points just do not connect.


So what is the protocol in finding an unmarked "unwanted" emergency queen in the hive (If that can even be determined) to be an emergency queen found after the fact. Automatically kill her because she is of the unmarked variety?  

Some may actually suggest that slapping a foreign contaminate on a queen may encourage supercedure. Of course those people are the ones trying to keep chemical out of the hive. However, they be called nuts by some, and may not apply to you.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2010, 08:33:05 AM »

lisascenic,

I would not be dismissive of seeing dwv bees. It is the one classic symptom of varroa infestation.

You may see dwv bees at increased rates due to cyclical brood situations, and a host of immune weakening causes. But certainly seeing dwv bees crawling in front of the hives should be reason for concern and action.

You mention you are organic in practice. I say this in general terms. please do not think that beekeeping today is doing nothing until a problem exists, then taking action. Going chemical free or treatment free (Lets hold off on the rationalization of these terms and deal with the broader understanding) means using everything to your advantage. It does not mean doing nothing. Your equipment options (SBB, comb, etc.), your management (Requeening, brood breaks, splitting, etc.) and your bees genetics, all play into overall hive health.
I say this, because some will decide to go "treatment free" or just decide to one day, not continue their normal treatments. I have many beekeepers just say "I'm not treating my bees anymore! I want to go chem free". I say that is great. Then I ask them what is their IPM strategy and what will they be doing to offset the need for treatments. And they are lost. So they had crappy mass produced queens and bees, and think they will handle the mites on their own after being treated in the past. (Not that it means much as most I know who treat with everything in the book still loses massive amounts of bees)  But I hope you get my point.

Most I know with success deal with from a multiple angle approach.

And the first thing most people suggest is "Throw some chems or acid in the hive". Why? Will that change the bees ability to deal with the mites three months from now? I suppose the knocking down of mites is good. But the bees also just told you (depending on what you find) that they can not handle the mites with the genetics and management IPM you previously used. So something must change. I would step back and think about what you could of done differently. And I also would change the queen. Some bees handle mites well, and some do not. Do not simply treat the hive and keep the same genetics in the hive. You will be repeating the situation over and over if you you do nothing.

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lisascenic
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« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2010, 09:51:48 AM »

I'll report back about the mite count from the IPM board.

But I'm Unclear about what the tipping point is. I've seen three bees with distorted wings. Does this warrant destroying the queen? My queens are from wild-caught swarms, which some would call Survivor Stock, and some would consider Unreliable Vermin.

(I'll spend some time looking over my photos of festooning bees this morning. Those pictures show a lot of bee undersides.  One of my weird talents is notice patterns, and spotting things that deviate from the norm, visually. I had not noticed any irreularities on the bees' undersides.)
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Robo
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« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2010, 12:10:03 PM »

But I'm Unclear about what the tipping point is. I've seen three bees with distorted wings. Does this warrant destroying the queen? My queens are from wild-caught swarms, which some would call Survivor Stock, and some would consider Unreliable Vermin.

My stock is from feral survivors and I occasionally see a hive with a few deformed winged bees.  Nothing ever more than a few and nothing that the bees didn't manage themselves.   It is something to keep an eye on, but I wouldn't start treating unless you find a heavy varroa infestation.

Just a word on "wild-caught swarms", unless you know of the feral hive that they swarmed from,  it is a good chance they are just a swarm from someone's hive.  I don't consider anything survivor stock unless it has gone more than a year without being managed.
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lisascenic
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« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2010, 04:46:23 PM »

This swarm is from a locally famous telephone pole, that threw off seven swarms this past spring. Well known by neighbors, but not a managed colony. 
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Robo
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« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2010, 05:05:40 PM »

Cool, always like to hear of feral colonies.   Sounds like you have yourself a great source of bees.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2010, 06:59:58 PM »

The tipping point, or what some call the "threshhold number" is different in every hive. Some suggest the magic number is 10, but that's because someone had to come up with something.  Wink

So what does it mean if your count comes back 5, or 55. Means nothing. Counts if they are to mean anything, should be done at some interval like every two weeks, to allow the beekeeper a view of what is happening in the hive. If the numbers, whether they are 5-12-7-13-6-15 or 45-23-34-29-51-34 shows that the hive is dealing with the mites on their own. The mites are not multiplying.

On the other hand, if your mite counts taken every two weeks go like this... 7-12-9-18-21-32 you can see the steady increase and that that the mites will probably overload the hive come fall.

I'll agree with robo (this time   Wink ), that my own observations is that MOST feral bees are someone Else's lost swarms. Feral bees have been way overhyped over the years.
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lisascenic
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« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2010, 11:53:02 PM »

Thank you, everyone, for your thoughtful replies.

I looked at the mite board this morning, and did see some mites.  I'll do an official count after 72 hours.

Overall, I'd say that these bees seem incredibly vigorous.  I gave them a new super with just starter strips of wax, and in three days they had drawn out comb on every frame, and were packing in the nectar.  If this hive gets any taller, I'm going to need to bring home my platform ladder!



Eight frames, just like this one, in three days!  Go girls!
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lisascenic
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« Reply #19 on: July 03, 2010, 08:48:19 PM »

After 24 hour hours, I glanced at the IPM board, and saw some mites.  After 72, there were none at all.

It seems that the ants have a taste for dead varroa mites, and we had not been vigilant about keeping our "ant moats" filled with oil.

So, we'll be restarting this census.

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