Sorry for the long post, but I believe I found some chalkbrood in one of my hives today. Confirmation and suggestions would be welcome.
Background: I have 2 hives, both started this year. One was started from a nuc in April. The second came from a captured swarm in May. While I have a large backyard, due to the presence of kids and the nervousness of wife and neighbors, I created a 6' X 8' enclosure with 4' high walls of normal 'tight' lattice. The enclosure is in the northwest corner or our yard, facing south. The enclosure was intended for one hive, but when I got the swarm colony I managed to fit in the second one. All of the lots around ours have large trees and there is a 6' privacy fence to the west. Now that summer is here, the hives get some direct sunlight from around mid-morning to mid-afternoon, but are often shaded. The whole yard is shaded a good part of the day, so I really do not have much choice in this. Also, it has been relatively wet this year, often raining everyday for a week at a time. I am using BeeMax Polystyrene hives with screened bottom boards. Aside from the nuc frames, all frames were new. Both hives have partially blocked bottom entrances and fully open top entrances created by using wood shims, so ventilation should be ok.
The nuc hive is doing fine; packed with bees and covering virtually every frame in 1 deep and 2 medium supers. The only (minor) concern is this: I added a bottom deep with starter strips awhile ago, but while there are tons of bees in it, (they beard all over the strip and frame when I inspect,) they have not drawn it out at all. This hive has been a little slow to draw all along, but seem to be completely healthy and active. (I pulled a fully capped frame of honey from them today so the in-laws could have a taste.) This hive gets a bit more direct sun than the other hive.
The hive from the swarm seemed to be doing fine at first glance also. They have consistently been a couple weeks behind the other hive, but that was not unexpected. They have the same number of boxes, 2 deeps and 2 mediums, with the same pattern of not drawing out the second deep yet. (They started out drawing much better than the nuc hive, but have since slowed down.) They are capping honey, and while there seem to be somewhat fewer bees, they still fill most of the hive, and seemed to be healthy. There are a few empty supercedure cells, and some brood in one of the honey supers, but I am not concerned by any of that.
The last time I inspected this hive, just over a week ago, I noticed a few 'mummified' looking things in the screen on the bottom board, but I did not notice any other problems. Due to my inexperience, I thought that it was just the remains of some other kind of insect that the bees were fighting off. They were slightly smaller than the bees, and were a whitish grey. Today I noticed a few of these 'mummies' in a few cells on 2 frames of the brood nest. They are not curled up at all; they are lying straight along the length of the cells. I poked one with a twig, and it was not soft or wet. There was nothing 'ropey' about it. The 'mummy' I checked came out easily in one piece. The best way I can describe them is that they look like half size yogurt covered raisins. I also saw 2 or 3 perforated brood cappings nearby. This is not widespread at all. I saw maybe a dozen of them in the entire hive. There is no noticable foul odor from the hive.
This hive gets a bit less sun than the other one. Coincidently I trimmed back a honeysuckle bush that was shading this hive earlier this weekend. I also cut back some other bushes that may have been restricting airflow around the enclosure. Other than this, I am not sure what to do. (I am considering ways to put them on the roof of my garage next year, since that is the only place around that gets sunlight most of the day.) Any other suggestions would be appreciated.