treating for AFB in hives possibly exposed?

Discussion in 'Pests and Diseases' started by Bitty Bee, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. Bitty Bee

    Bitty Bee New Member

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    It was a beautiful day to get into the hives and play with the bees, unfortunately it didn't end as well as it began.

    We had one hive that seemed to be dwindling away, but the rain kept us from checking on them. Today we found very few bees, noticed that the other hives were trying to rob this one out (usually that tells us that a hive is sick or has serious mite or shb issues), and dead bees on the porch.

    As soon as we opened the hive an awful smell told me that something really wrong was going on, it smelled even worse that a hive killed off by shb. We pulled every single frame and looked hard and long at them: no queen and the only brood (which was very scarce and scattered) was dead with holes in the cappings, on 4 frames we found a few cells that looked sunken in and gooey, mama poked a stick into them and pulled out globs of the gooey brown, sticky, stinky stuff. We've never seen anything like it before but the smell of it made mama worry so she called a friend to find out what the best thing to do is.

    We burned the hive thinking it could possibly be AFB but now my question is do we treat the remaining hives we have with terramycin (since that's what we have on hand) as a way to help the other bees stay healthy? Like I already said we saw other bees robbing this sick hive and I don't want it to travel and make the other bees sick. :cry:
     
  2. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    The issue of AFB and EFB have been discussed on a few of the other boards, start treating the other colonies with the same terramyican treatments you would normally in the late fall and early spring. reduce the entrances to prevent robbing, and what you also have to do is sterilize your other beekeeping equipment that came in contact with the dead colony. Spores from AFB are extremely resiliant and can survive for 40 years waiting for the proper conditions to develop. There are other drugs to feed the bees, I mentioned only one, of course follow dosing recomendations, and follow the dosing intervals. I ma fortunate that I have never had to deal with AFB or EFB, but reading had given me a bit of insight. Good Luck, all should turn out ok. :thumbsup:
    Barry
     

  3. Bitty Bee

    Bitty Bee New Member

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    THANK YOU! I have read some of the other posts on the topic of AFB and figured that we should probably do like you suggested. I just felt horribly guilty for burning a hive and thought it would be good to get several opinions before doing anything else to make sure we don't do more harm than good. thanks again! :hi:
     
  4. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    Understand--if your other colonies have taken the AFB spores into thier colony, then it will exist without notice --until you stop treating them---then in a few monthes it will manifest itself this is according to all the research I have done, mind you treatment schedules are such so as to allow you to have uncontaminated honey. While maximize the benefits of the drug--AFB and EFB are both horrific diseases for honeybees--again good luck and god bless.
    Barry
     
  5. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    It is a sad thing to have to burn hives, watched as 30 hives were burned. I was going to buy them that very day until we inspected all of them.

    I hope that none of your other hives got infected.

    G3
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    G3 writes:
    It is a sad thing to have to burn hives, watched as 30 hives were burned. I was going to buy them that very day until we inspected all of them.

    tecumseh:
    extremely sad.... but your statement is about as good a testimonal as I have read as to why hives should always be inspected by someone who can recognize disease before you plunk down your hard earned money for a hive(s).
     
  7. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    Thankfully so far it seems to be only the one hive that was affected. It was a sad time to be sure all three of my little beeks sitting out beside the fire pit watching the box burn. Baby beek was just worried sick until she talked to iddee today to make sure she had done the right thing and to make sure she had a good plan to take care of the remaining hives.

    In a weird way I'm kind of thankful that the kids have seen firsthand what to watch for. You can read about things and take classes forever but until you experience some things you have absolutely no understanding of them in reality. It gave each of the kids real context to frame what they had only read about and heard ..... now I can be positive that they will remember what that disease looks and smells like, and know what to do when they see it.

    Maybe I'm a strange parent but I've always taught the kids that the bad things we face in life can and most always do bring some sort of benefit to us for having gone through them, you just have to find the appropriate perspective to look at the situation from.
     
  8. Walt B

    Walt B New Member

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    Mama Beek,

    Thank You...a wonderful sentiment.

    Walt
     
  9. Bitty Bee

    Bitty Bee New Member

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  10. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Well said Mama Beek, sounds like you have raised you kids right. Even when something does not play out like we want it to there is always a learning experience that will come from it. Life lessons are the hardest but best learned and least forgotten.

    G3
     
  11. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    In Beekeeping, seldom does something happen good or bad--that can not be a teaching moment--make this one of those experiences--might not like the experience--but will work harder to avoid the experience.
    Barry
     
  12. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I guess the teacher in me would say that the affected hive was about as good a 'teachable moment' as you could imagine. seeing it directly as either an adult or student certainly burns the image unto the old hard drive forever. folks only recall the hypothetical for a short while, but the image of reality is there forever.

    another related comment... the remedies of medication and burning have been suggested previously but there is also a longer term genetic solution to the problem which is the minnesota hygenic bee program (it's original purpose was to combat foulbrood via genetic selection). if you did notice foul brood was a concern at your location (and long ago folks suspected that reseveriors of the disease might be present at certain locations in the feral population's nesting sites) I would encourge you to think about adding minnesota hygenic queens to your hives when the time comes. the genetics of hygenic behavior is not simple but the more you add the more the display of the behavior you will notice. some of us suspect is is also beneficial in combating varroa simply because the display of hygenic behavior likely limits a whole host of other disease problems.
     
  13. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    Not necassarily Barry. Not if the colonies have hygenic ability. If this were so, all the time, then what would be the point of treating? Unless the beekeeper was going to continue treating forever?

    My recommendation is, burn the infected bees and equipment (which you already did), treat the remaining colonies now and in the spring and then don't treat again. Then repeat the above recommendation as needed. In otherwords, when AFB showes itself again in your hives.
     
  14. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    AFB is not as complex or simple as some suggest. I could almost guarantee that spore WERE transmitted to your other hives, eliminating any "IF" comments.

    I started 5 years ago, as suggested to me by another, to remove any signs of AFB from the hive. In other words, just take out the bad frame. Then treat two cycles, that being spring/fall or fall spring. At the same time, replace with a hygienic new queen. I'm not sold on the MH line alone, as other lines have been selected for hygienic behavior and have come a long way. At the same time, the original testing for specifically AFB in MH stock has been somewhat lacking in past years as the focus has been on mite control.

    I have a remote yard that I play around with AFB and testing queens. Buit to be honest, the last 4 hives that I did the above mentioned treatments, have never seen AFB again. I actually was hoping to see some more so I could do some testing this past year.

    I think burning beyond infected "frame" level, is a waste. Spores are in about every hive ever tested. Spores in honey in past tests had shown them widespread, even in colonies never having AFB.

    I think when you take out the bad frame(s), and do a two cycle treatment, you are watering down the spore concentrations. Lab tests can get a single spore to activate, but there is also a threshhold of spore count that must be present in a particular single cell within a hive to outbreak. So although most hives do have AFB spores, most never get to a point where the disease outbreaks.

    Certain conditions does allow it to get a foot hold. Spring chilled brood, PMS, and situations from pesticide kill and other factors that allow brood/larvae to die, and the bee numbers are diminished to the point where it starts rotting in the cells, and they can not keep up with cleaning out cells fast enough.

    as sqkcrk said, The right genetics goes a long way in dealing with AFB.
     
  15. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    Wow, all great information again, and very helpful. The point about hygenic behaviors is truly something to consider. It's easy to imagine that just as with any other species, the bees will have certain qualities that will either make them more or less susceptible to any disease.

    As far as treatment goes it's probably relatively safe to make a similar assumption about treating for AFB, just like some of the wicked human bacteria you can treat it appropriately and lower the bacterial population to the point that a person's body can begin to get well on it's own.... but if you were to over treat you will in the long run create a weakened immunity to not only that illness but several others as well. We humans all carry the staph bacteria in and on our bodies but it can and does occasionally become over populated and cause an illness that requires treatment...... hmmm.

    I'm sure I'll come back to this a few times as I digest some of the information.

    As a side thought; does anyone know if there have been any of the natural antibiotics used to treat some of the diseases that affect bees? I think of things like colloidal silver, and some of the essential oils, thymol is highly antibacterial and antifungal.... I know there are others but my I'm having a hard time putting names to them at the moment.
     
  16. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Some of those natural antibiotics aren't as safe as most people think. Be careful....



    >>>>ACCIDENTAL poisoning under any circumstances
    is an unfortunate event. However,
    when such an occurrence follows the ingestion
    of poisonous material which is readily available
    to the public without being designated a dangerous
    substance the event becomes tragic. Methyl
    salicylate (oil of wintergreen) is a drug which
    falls into the latter category. It may be purchased
    at any drug store without signature and
    without precautionary labels of either "poison"
    or "for external use only". It is, further, a
    substance used frequently as a household liniment
    and not uncommonly as a flavouring
    medium in foods.
    With the general impression being that the
    drug is innocuous, it is not surprising to find
    that parents have permitted a child to play with
    a bottle of the oil. They are dumbfounded to
    learn that the child, should he swallow it in the
    course of a typical childish investigation of the
    substance, has indeed swallowed a substance
    which is as likely as not to produce a fatal result.<<<<

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/article ... 1-0064.pdf


    .
     
  17. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    Of course as with the administeration of any drug for whatever the intended purpose must be used within the guidelines set by manufacturer dosing, and schedules for administering the drug , using more or less then is allowed is more often then not tragic for the bees or people
     
  18. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    mama beek writes:
    As far as treatment goes it's probably relatively safe to make a similar assumption about treating for AFB, just like some of the wicked human bacteria you can treat it appropriately and lower the bacterial population to the point that a person's body can begin to get well on it's own.... but if you were to over treat

    and then...

    As a side thought; does anyone know if there have been any of the natural antibiotics used to treat some of the diseases that affect bees? I think of things like colloidal silver, and some of the essential oils, thymol is highly antibacterial and antifungal....

    tecumseh:
    the first sentence suggest you have pretty understand what's a happening... ie a drug therapy can raise resistance or lower exposure but if the individual hive does not have the natural tendency/inclination/genetics to resist the disease at some point you will need to attend to that limitation. otherwise all you are doing is stepping onto a treadmill of continuous treatment (and the treadmill will have the tendency to speed up at a fairly constant rate).

    folks have added all kinds of stuff to a bee hive to combat (or supposedly treat) foulbrood or varroa or whatever. some of these things do seem to somewhat work. doseage (per hive or per bee) and getting some extremely small quantity of 'stuff' throughly mixed into a very much larger quantity of stuff (quite typically sugar water) is not a small or insignificant problem. even the mixing of approved remedies have somewhat the same problem, but generally you have some idea of what 'too much' really means. also most of the approved and scienficially documented remedies do have wide safety margins and generally an extemely small likelyhood of working themselves into the wax or honey in a hive.

    if you do see a pattern of a problem with foulbrood type disease I would highly recommend that eventually you try to work some minnesota hygenic genetic material into your hive(s). this behavior is one of the few quantifiable characteristics of a honeybee... which mean the expression of this trait ain't really just someone's opionion but that the trait can be verified and measured.
     
  19. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    I hear alot of the minnesota hygenic bees, but aren't there other bees with the same hygenic qualities that are maybe less well known? It would seem that in bee yards with attentive beekeepers who maybe don't treat their hives chemically would see through natural selection as those hives re-queen themselves (if that particular beek allowed it) the development of bees with high quality hygenic behaviors.
     
  20. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Selection for hygienic bees and those able to handle placed frames of AFB go back a good ways. Before the MH, Charlie Mraz in Vermont had a line of AFB resistant bees. However they were not resistant to mites, and were about completely wiped out.

    It does go to show, that bees can and do, things like AFB, if we either select for these qualities or allow nature to do it.

    With the selection of other hydienic behaviors like SMR and VSH traits, bees are probably closer to dealing with side issues such as AFB.

    Problem is, most bees are probably still produced in quantity, and careful selection of traits is probably lacking for the most part. Throw in the weak foreign genetics (aussie bees) that are being mixed in, and beekeepers desire to save everything with chemical treatments, and this continued path of having something worth talking about, and yet not able to truly survive on it's own, will be the standard for years to come.

    Those buying quality genetics, willing to foster an environment of survivors, to include the local gene pool, will see much better success going forward.