Neglected Drone Brood

Throughout the year several honey bee diseases can be noted in stressed or sick colonies. There are also other stress factors that cause colony conditions to deteriorate and look very similar to sick or diseased colonies. One condition is neglected drone brood. It is caused by either a drone laying queen, laying workers, poorly mated queens, or failing queens. The size of the colony will determine how long it takes to dwindle down and show signs of neglected drone brood. Most of the photos are from a colony that had a poorly mated queen. The symptoms appeared 10 days after she started to lay. In…

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Bald Brood

An interesting brood symptom you may come across in a weak hive in the spring is Bald Brood. Bald brood is caused by the Lesser wax moth (Achroia gresella) or the Greater wax moth (Galleria mellonella.) You can see in the image below the linear pattern of uncapping that occurs due to the wax moths tunneling behavior. These symptoms can sometimes be confused as hygienic behavior; I have included an image showing some hygienic behavior of uncapping. One visible difference between hygienic behavior vs. bald brood is that there is no linear pattern of uncapping sealed brood with hygienic behavior. Colonies with bald brood often…

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Unknown Brood Damage

Posted 4/17/2013 This blog was changed from the original post. The title has changed from Pesticide brood Kill to Unknown Brood Damage. This change was in response to the comments I have received both on this blog and by emails, I want to clarify a few of my comments. First, I regret the original title of the blog as correctly noted; I had no concrete evidence that it was a pesticide brood kill. No pesticide analysis was done on the pollen or bees because, as I mentioned in the comments section, this beekeeper knew what was being sprayed, when it was being sprayed and the…

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European Foulbrood (EFB) Part 2.

The most problematic pest beekeepers encounter in the United States today is the varroa mite. The varroa mite (Varroa destructor) is an ectoparasite associated with spreading disease, pathogens and reducing the lifespan of male and female honey bees. The mites accomplish this by creating wounds in honey bees with piercing/sucking mouthparts, then feeding on the hemolymph within. Research suggests that these mites transfer single-stranded RNA virus between bees, along with infections of bacteria, including Melissococcus pluton (EFB). This type of bacterial infection of larvae or pupa is considered a secondary infection, since the mite initiated the process and the bacteria followed. EFB is normally transmitted…

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How to make a Sugar Roll jar

A sugar roll test is a simple way to monitor your varroa mite loads without killing a lot of bees. It is easy and fast and only a few items are needed. To make a sugar roll jar you will need a few supplies. You can get these supplies at a home improvement store and the grocery store. • Wide mouth quart canning jar with a two piece lid. You can use other sized jars as long as there is a two piece lid. • Screening-#8 mesh (8 squares per square inch) is preferred but you can use other screening as long as it allows…

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Spring Sampling in Northern California 2013

Sampling large numbers of beekeepers takes considerable behind-the-scenes planning and work and this aspect of the project usually goes unseen and is underappreciated. I want to shed some light on what we all do to prepare for a hectic and fast-paced sampling season. Our spring sampling kits arrived from the east coast in several boxes. Team member Karen Roccasecca in Pennsylvania put the kits together consisting of a labeled alcohol bottle and virus sample bottle in individual bags. The individual bags contain both bottles and were grouped in 12 then placed into larger bags and eventually boxed. She then shipped them to our team at…

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Preparing frames for foundation

In the next few months beekeepers all over the country will start to inspect hives if they haven’t already. Some pests can be destructive over the fall and winter months. There are two common pests that cause damage during this time, mice and wax moths. Both pests cost beekeepers valuable time in fixing the problem and also money to replace the foundation if the frame is salvageable. Below is a video of me using my modified hive tool to clean foundation from top and bottom bars on frames. For more information on my modified hive tool, visit my blog "here". . I have included some…

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Nectar, Pollen and Pollen Substitute: Keys to a healthy colonly

In this blog I will talk about nectar, pollen and my theories on how honey bees utilize pollen/substitute patties and dry pollen substitute. So why do honey bees collect pollen? It would be hard to ask this question without asking why they collect nectar. Honey bees collect nectar from the nectaries of plants, which are glands that produce nectar. A honey bee uses her proboscis (mouthparts) to lap up nectar from flowers. There are some flowers in which the bee’s proboscis is not long enough to extract nectar, one example is the honey suckle flower. With this flower, bumblebees will chew a hole in the…

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Whats wrong with my hive?

To determine if something is wrong with your hive, you must first know what a healthy, productive hive looks like. Knowing what a healthy colony looks like takes time, patience, and many hours in the hive to get a feel of what is going on in the colony throughout the year. Sometime the colony does not look so great and the size of the colony starts to dwindle. You can do two things here, panic or take a look at what is actually going on. Look at the brood, look at the bees(size, wings, uniformity, behavior), look at the sealed brood, look at the food…

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