American Foulbrood (AFB)

How does AFB spread? American Foulbrood (Paenibacillus larvae) is introduced to the hive by drifting bees from nearby colonies, infected equipment/tools, beekeepers and robbing. The infection begins when spores enter the hive, and then food contaminated by spores is fed to the larvae by nurse bees. Once spores are in the midgut the bacteria take over using the larvae as a source of nourishment. After the cells are sealed, death occurs. If death occurs while in the pupal stage, there may be a protruding tongue present. When there is a serious infection you can notice moisture on sealed brood as they start to sink. Sunken…

Continue Reading →

Parasitic Mite Syndrome (PMS)

PMS or Parasitic Mite Syndrome is a condition that causes a honey bee colony to deteriorate and eventually dwindle away and die. There has not yet been a pathogen detected which causes the brood symptoms that appear with this syndrome. However there are always varroa mites present with this syndrome. The brood symptoms look similar to other diseases but the larvae don’t rope. Colonies with PMS will show symptoms of white larvae that are chewed or pecked down by workers. Larvae may appear sunken to the side of the cell and may show symptoms of white with some debris at the posterior end. Pupa will…

Continue Reading →

Tropilaelaps Mites, Part 2

Author: Elinor M. Lichtenberg Varroa mites cause significant harm to honey bee colonies word-wide. A similar pest, Tropilaelaps mites, could cause widespread damage if introduced to Europe or the Americas. We described the natural history of these mites last year. In parts of Asia where both mites are found, the Tropilaelaps mite is often considered a worse pest than the Varroa mite. Its life cycle is much shorter, facilitating rapid population growth. In Tropilaelaps mites’ native range, beekeepers must treat colonies with acaricides every two weeks to control these mites. US beekeepers currently treat for Varroa mites two or three times per year, too infrequently…

Continue Reading →

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…

Continue Reading →

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…

Continue Reading →

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…

Continue Reading →

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…

Continue Reading →

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…

Continue Reading →

Purple Brood

Liz and I spent a week in Southern California taking samples for the National Honey Bee Disease Survey. We came across purple brood – something I had never seen before. The larvae had a bright purple hue to them along their gut line. It was quite pretty. After some research, it seems that the most likely cause for purple brood is nectar from the plant Cyrilla racemiflora (common names are southern leatherwood or summer titi). It is poisonous to the brood, so beekeepers either have to move their colonies away or take the loss. Only one colony of the eight we sampled had it, so…

Continue Reading →

Be Involved. Be Included.Bee Informed.

Donate Now ! →