Beekeeping Video Game to Identify Brood Stages

OK, so maybe its not technically a video game, but Reed Johnson at Ohio State has developed an online program called Broodmapper.com  to inspect brood frames. Citizen science is a term used describe similar projects, where the general public participates in the collection and analysis of data. Often the tasks include an educational component. In Broodmapper.com, you can learn or hone your skills in identifying eggs, brood age, diseased larvae, and other states you are likely to need to know when inspecting honey bee colonies. Once you complete a tutorial that shows you how to do these things, you can then apply your skills to…

Continue Reading →

Wax Moth

I would like to talk about a pest previously mentioned in these blogs called the “Wax Moth.” This pest can be a problem all year round especially with stored equipment. Here are some ways to store comb, if you have any other ways to store your equipment please post in the comments. You can use PDB crystals (Dichlorobenzene) or moth balls as fumigants, be sure to air out a day or two before using them. A good friend of mine Tracy Alsedek from "Main Line Honey" keeps his equipment in a room with the light on 24/7 365 and he has no wax moth issues.…

Continue Reading →

Inhabitants when the colony dies or is clustered for the winter

Going into the winter, beekeepers place an entrance reducer on colonies to reduce robbing and also prevent other animals and insects from entering the hive. The entrance reducer is used to decrease the size of the entrance; it also gives the bees a smaller area to defend. Two common pests to deadout colonies are mice and chipmunks (in Pennsylvania). A mouse can chew drawn comb to nothing but bits and pull debris into the hive to make nests. The chipmunks use hive bodies as storage places to protect their food from the weather as shown in the image below. Using an entrance reducer can limit…

Continue Reading →

Dead out pests and more inhabitants of the hive.

  When a honey bee colony dies there a number of insects that will invade the hive and take advantage of the resources left over. Often, the first insect to move in is the wax moth and they can be a pest before the colony is even completely dead. These moths usually move into colonies at night when colonies are weak and take advantage of wax from the brood nest. I have pointed out these tunnels in the image below. Also found in dead out colonies are black ants. They use comb as egg storage and shelter from the elements. There is an image above…

Continue Reading →

Test for Varroa

I am going to save my original topic of propolis and bee health for a later weeks since it seems more apt to talk about Varroa this time of year. Late summer and early fall is the time when many beekeepers treat for Varroa. Treating now reduces the number of mites feeding on the bees that will become winter bees. One symptom of a mite feeding on a worker pupa is a shortened life span for that adult bee. So, if too many winter bees are exposed to mites during their development, then the population of adult bees can die off over the long winter.…

Continue Reading →

Battles at the Entrance

As fall approaches and forage becomes scarce, honey bees become more aggressive to protecting their honey crop. The honey crop is collected throughout the spring and summer. They use the stored honey throughout the winter to fuel their survival by beating their flight muscles to generate heat to warm the colony. The honey becomes very attractive to other insects this time of year; this is often when you see battles at the entrance. There is a video below to show the aftermath of one of these battles. There are also some other pictures of insect pests trying to get into the hives for honey below.

Continue Reading →

SBV or Sacbrood Virus

In 2005 I started keeping bees. I never saw any disease or virus in my hives until the 2008/2009 season. The first disease I noted in the summer of 2008 was DWV, which is an acronym for Deformed Wing Virus. In the spring of 2009, I found another virus…Sac Brood Virus or SBV. During an inspecting of one hive in early May, I recognized a problem when I saw capped cells that were perforated and had jagged edges. Inside the cells were strange uncapped larvae, which looked like they had shrunken heads. Once the larvae is infected with the virus, it will die and eventually…

Continue Reading →

Chalkbrood

When I started inspecting for honey bee diseases, the first and most prevalent disease I found was chalkbrood. I first observed this disease a few weeks into the spring while inspecting a few colonies. I had seen the disease on several other occasions, so it was very easy to identify by the hard “chalk-like” mummies inside the cells. As the season progressed, I learned something from the bees and what they do when the colony has chalkbrood. The nurse bees will drag white, black and other different colored infected larvae out of the hive. These “chalk-like” mummies can be found around and in front of…

Continue Reading →

EFB

The first time I encountered this notable disease was in 2005. My professor at the time had a frozen frame with European Foulbrood. He held up the frame and asked what we saw wrong with it. The first thing I noticed was the shotgun brood pattern. I looked closely and observed contorted/twisted larvae. The symptom is caused by the bacteria Melissococcus plutonius. The larva dies before the cell is sealed because the bacteria out-compete the larvae for the food. The images below demonstrate symptoms I first noted. The next time I saw this unique disease was the summer of 2008. A beekeeper called with concern,…

Continue Reading →

What is that Smell?…American Foulbrood!

Three summers ago I was hired as a Pennsylvania Apiary Inspector. When I started this job I thought back to my mentor Dr. Robert Berthold. He taught us bee diseases and pest by showing slides and using key descriptive words. This inspired me to start photographing various diseases and pest found inside and outside of the hive. Over the next few weeks I will share my experience with some of these diseases and pest. I chose American Foulbrood (AFB) first since it’s the most notable brood disease. So I first thought to myself…How does AFB spread? America Foulbrood is introduced to the hive by drifting…

Continue Reading →

Be Involved. Be Included.Bee Informed.

Donate Now ! →