diagnosis?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Tyro, Aug 28, 2010.

  1. Tyro

    Tyro Member

    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    I have a colony that has come down with something. Before I say what I think it is, I thought I would get some input from the forum.

    History:

    The colony was established this year from a 3 frame nuc (I had others from this source this year and they are all healthy) and queened with a CF Koehnen Carni queen. The colony has been strong for about two months, building well and the queen had a solid laying pattern. They are in two deep boxes.

    Symptoms:

    In the last week, the brood pattern has become very spotty. There are many empty cells interspersed throughout the brood, some with eggs, others empty. I noticed a few uncapped, dead larvae laying in the bottom of their cells. They ranged in color from white to dark yellow.

    Otherwise, bees are coming and going at a pretty good clip (as though there is a flow on). They are calm on the frames, bringing in pollen, etc.

    I have my own idea about what it might be, but I am looking for other ideas as well.

    Thanks

    Mike
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

    Messages:
    8,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I would suspect poorly bred or interbred queen, unless the night temps. have been dropping drastically for the last week or so. Then I would think chill brood.
     

  3. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

    Messages:
    2,683
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    doesnt sound like the bees are not very hygenic if they are leaving dead larva in the hive. If its been hot the queen will slow down on laying. You didnt mention how much honey stores they have. Or if there was a lot of dead bees in front of the hive. In order to figure it out we will need more info Im leaning towards starvation. or maybe a long shot on pesticides
     
  4. Tyro

    Tyro Member

    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    rat/Iddee,

    There were no dead bees in front of the hive. Starvation is probably not the issue - there is a pretty good flow on and the hive has several frames of capped honey already stored. Additionally, there are also a couple of frames of uncapped nectar.

    The sunflowers are blooming and I have seen the cropduster spraying, but this is normally very early in the morning (finished by 9am).

    Also, there aren't many dead larvae in the hive (in fact, I saw only 3 left there), but the brood pattern is spotty and the empty cells are very clean (as though the larvae has been pulled and the cells made ready for the next egg).

    The nights have gotten cooler. We went from nighttime temps in the 70's to nighttime temps in the 50's in the last week.

    One last observation - the queen had been laying excellent solid patterns for the last 2.5 months or so. The pattern only became spotty in the last 1-2 weeks sometime. If she were the product of poor genetics, I would have thought that the pattern would have been bad from the start. But then, I don't know.

    Mike


    Mike
     
  5. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

    Messages:
    2,683
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    she may not have been breed well and is failing. From what your saying. It could possibly be pestiside remeber if they spray in the morning and the bees are not locked down they could be going to where they are spraying and a lot of the bees are not making it back. Temps dippoing into the 50's at night makes me want to side with iddee on this one. what are you thinking is causing this
     
  6. Tyro

    Tyro Member

    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Well, the hive still has plenty of bees - it seems like it is the brood pattern and larva that are effected only. So I am leaning away from pesticides - unless there is something about pesticide poisoning that affects larvae that I don't know of yet.

    The onset was sudden and my opinion on the matter has been pretty strongly influenced by the condition of the few dead larvae that I saw. I eliminated the foulbroods - because the capped larvae looked normal and there was no smell. I eliminated nosema because there was no fouling of the hive. I eliminated chalk and stonebrood because the larvae didn't match the descriptions (and I have seen chalkbrood before).

    That left me with sacbrood. The dead larvae that were present were lying on the 'bottom' of the cell (as we look at it), extending from the front to the back of the cell. Larvae looked formed, but dead and varied in color from white to dark yellow.

    I put some 1:1 syrup on them with Honey b Healthy (figured it couldn't hurt) and gave them a pollen patty. Outside of that, I don't know that there is anything else to do except hope that they overcome whatever it is in time to make healthy 'winter' bees.
     
  7. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

    Messages:
    8,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    When a queen mates, she mates with 10 to 25 drones. If a breeder has hundreds of queens mating at the same time, that is a lot of drones. I'm thinking she may have only found a few and is running out of sperm.
     
  8. Tyro

    Tyro Member

    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Iddee,

    THAT I hadn't thought of. That would also be very unfortunate this time of year, particularly since she was 'new' in June. I will keep monitoring the hive and see if it turns around.

    Thanks for all the input!

    Mike
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    snip..
    I eliminated nosema because there was no fouling of the hive.

    tecumseh:
    just to enlighten you somewhat this 'clue' is likely only present with bees that have been confined for long periods of time and likely only works (never here) for nosema apis (and not nosema carena).

    at this point in your season.... if there are no dead bees at the front entrance and you have not noticed a quick die off in brood caring bees (both symptoms of nosema during the more active season) then I would also likely eliminate nosema as a concern. to me visually nosema also 'typically' looks like the brood nest is uncared for (which conforms with the sudden and very dramatic die off of house keeping and brood bees)

    I think perhaps the temperatures (and the breed... new world carnolians????) may be at least a part of the problem. at 55 you would expect the bees to begin clustering tightly which if the brood nest was extensive enough might explain some, if not all, of the problem. at some point in time and in many very northern location the backfilling of the lower brood nest may have survival benefits that greatly out weight the perceived downside.

    at the end of the day you have to figure how you can intercede have some success in this intervention. if it still early enough at your location that some intervention would provide some useful outcome?
     
  10. Tyro

    Tyro Member

    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    I haven't noticed that they have begun backfilling the brood nest - and they still have space. My other hives are not backfilling yet, so I don't know that is the case.

    At this point in the season up here though, whether it is chilled brood (which I am coming to think it is), poor genetics (which I hope it is not) or viral (like sacbrood), it is getting late to do anything about it. I put a pollen patty and syrup on them in the hope that it would stimulate a little more brood production and perhaps strengthen the overall population's health. That is about all there is to do.

    My hives are chemical free, so treatments are out. I monitor for mites - and they aren't yet a problem at this location. At this point, whatever it is, they will sort it out or not. Fortunately, the location is isolated and away from most of my other hives. There is only 1 other hive there. So far, it appears unaffected.

    Thanks rat, tecumseh and Iddee for the insights.

    Mike
     
  11. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    tyro writes:
    it is getting late to do anything about it. I put a pollen patty and syrup on them in the hope that it would stimulate a little more brood production and perhaps strengthen the overall population's health. That is about all there is to do.

    tecumseh:
    that is exactly what I would have done also. then I would play wait and see and in 10 to 14 days see what the hive looks like. based upon what I saw then I would either likely feed a bit more or kick or combine.