Uncapped pupae?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by d.magnitude, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    While doing an inspection today, I found several cells on one frame with uncapped pupae (or maybe they can't even be called that, as they were not in a cocoon, but were "mostly" developed bees, white with pink/purple eyes).

    Most of the frame around them was properly sealed brood, but there were at least 6-7 cells scattered about, neatly uncapped, with the nearly-developed bees facing out, but still down in the cell looking completely intact. I uncapped some of the adjacent cells, and the pupae inside were at the same stage of development. I did not notice any discoloration, funny smells, etc.

    Why would this be? Could house bees be uncapping sick or varroa-infested brood to clean out (best case scenario)? I did not see any workers paying any attention to these open brood cells. I did notice a few more SHB than usual when I popped the top (not more than a dozen), but they wouldn't have anything to do with this would they?

    Once again, I'm sorry I didn't have my camera.

    Thanks for any leads,
    -Dan
     
  2. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    D,
    Sometimes that is an indication that you have wax worms in the hive. They will sometimes crawl along near the surace of the comb, eating the cappings, exposing the almost developed pupae inside the cells.
    This should be especially suspected if you find the uncapped cells to be in a line. The wax worm larvae become exposed in this way and sometimes the bees will successfully attack and remove them. This would explain why the line of capless cells ends. Sometimes they'll burrow back down into the deeper parts of the comb and continue their destructive work there.
    Just a word of advice: whenever you come across a wax worm in a hive, try to get rid of it. Even if the bees are a bit over active, it's worth the effort to get rid of as many WWs as you can. A "slice"with the hive tool is fast and efficient. If they build up their populations in a hive, they can do it in. Their damage is not limited to stored hives.
    Thank God, I have no experience with SHB so I can't say if they might be the culprits.
     

  3. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    Interesting. I wouldn't have thought of wax worms. There were a couple of adjacent "open" cells, but others were spread out on their own. I didn't notice any other evidence of wax moth larvae, but I'll keep a sharp eye out now.

    And don't worry, I'm not afraid to ruthlessly use my hive tool on pests. It's my second line of defense (only after the bees themselves).

    -Dan
     
  4. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    Called bald brood. Requeening is probably recommended, but, if she appears to be laying well I wouldn't bother. Not much mortality caused by this condition.
     
  5. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    Bald brood, huh? It's nice to have a name for it (and be able to research it further). Is this not an uncommon condition? I've never heard of it before. It's interesting to read that the pupae may emerge normally without their cappings.

    It was definitely not excessive in my hive, so I'm not going to sweat it too much... yet. I will defintely be on the lookout for wax moth larvae, and be sure to take good care of any comb removed from this hive.

    Thanks for the input.
    -Dan
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I had never heard that term before either.

    uncapping at the pupae stage is generally though to be an indication of hygienic behavior. the folks at the bee lab in Baton Rouge seem to suggest that some bees will uncap for varroa which then seems to interrupt the varroa reproductive mis-behavior.

    guessing for sure.... I would suspect that uncapping in a hive of somewhat to highly hygienic bees might be induced by almost anything the bees perceive as be improper.