So, I got my nuc the 2nd to last week of April and it came with chalkbrood. I have tried several things including: requeening, no bottom board, taking out frames and replacing them with new, putting them into a brand new hive box, adding another new hive box to encourage them to build up and away from their chalbrood curse… but here we are still dealing with this mess! I am frustrated because the original 5 frame nuc hasn’t grown out of those 5 frames yet. They are in a 10 frame deep box, and still only on 5 frames. We have been feeding them sugar water and pollen patties like crazy. They have no capped honey for themselves. There are lots of eggs, but the majority of them seem to be pulled out and thrown aside. So… what are my choices at this point? Here in Utah, we have maybe 2 more months til we need to start getting ready for the winter. I know that these bees won’t make it over the winter, but I don’t want to intentionally kill them either. Ahh!
Hiya Lindsay, is the hive in full sun?
They are in full sun from about 10am til sunset.
Beating chalk brood is going to take time, I had three hives infected and it took 6 months to see a noticeable improvement in the drop of chalk brood. I even spent hours going thru brood frames with tweezers removing mummies, I hope it helped in the hives recovery.
Keep the hive well insulated, switch out really effected frames and render them down to reclaim the wax. Reduce the hive entrance to 3 to 4 inches if you haven’t already done it.
Really sad that someone sold you a nuc effected with chalk brood, have you let him know and what was his response?
Thanks Peter, you gave me some great advice when I was more active in May. I am currently in school and barely treading water, but popped back in really quick. My biggest worry is that were getting really close to winter, and I don’t think they will survive. I’m not sure if you remember, but when I talked to the seller, he brought over a 3rd nuc and let me keep this one. My husband actually called him again this week and he admitted that he requeened the nuc with a queen that probably has chalkbrood genetics or something. Super disappointed. We had the state inspector come and take a look and he placed another deep on the top in hopes to encourage them to build up. They have not done that and it’s been a month and a half. It’s all very disappointing.
One thought I just had. Can I pinch the chalbrood queen (I hate the thought of doing this) and shake off the bees into the remaining 2 healthy hives? And just have 2 hives instead of the 3? Will the chalkbrood hives introduce the chalbrood to the healthy hives?
I do recall the guy supply a new nuc to you, it was the least he could do in my opinion as he should have seen he was selling you a nuc with chalk brood in it. Lots of people advocate requeening as a cure for chalk brood but in my hives it was no help at all. It is not the queen who is responsible for the chalk brood in a hive.
I had an inspector who I spoke to at length on the phone and he went to the trouble to come and check my hive although it isn’t a reportable issue in my state of Queensland. His advice and understanding of chalk brood was really valuable to me.
Basically he said it could take 6 to 12 months to cure a hive if I was prepared to put in the time. Chalk brood is a result of stress in a colony that can be a result of simply relocating a hive. I asked about giving the bees pieces of banana and the skin, he said that he didn’t think it would help but would do no harm to the bees either. His advice was that the spores didn’t transfer easily between hives - I only had the three hives of six I had moved become infected, none of the hives in the apiary got infected. Before I returned the six hive back to my apiary there no sign of chalk brood in them and those hives were added to the apiary as close as 12 inches to other hives with no transfer to healthy hives infecting other hives. His advice was to cycle out frames
ASAP to reduce the spore count in the hive and not to transfer and frames from infected hives to healthy hives.
I see no reason you couldn’t add healthy frames of brood to the chalk brood hive if needed to compensate for the loss of bees in an infected frame, but not to reintroduce ‘contaminated’ frames back to a healthy hive.
It sounds a lot like beating the Corona Virus with humans. Don’t mix anything, including contaminated bees.
The three infected hives all had chalk brood on an inspection after two weeks of them returning to the apiary, and it only got a lot worse over the next month or two… So my guess it doesn’t transfer between hives air born that easily.
I wouldn’t put bees ftom an infected hive into 2 healthy hives.
Personally I’d go back to the seller ask fur your money back and ask him to come and collect the disaster he/she sold you.
Ckean and sterilise all your equipment and concentrate on the 2 healthy hives until next spring and do your own split from a head lthy over wintered colony to populate your 3rd hive Linzi.
I agree with all of the above. This is not your fault. The supplier sold you a dud nucleus and gave you a problem. I also agree that it would be totally reasonable to ask for a refund and get him to take his yucky nucleus away. You will need to scorch or bleach the inside of the boxes to kill the fungal spores. They are very persistent and you don’t want to infect a new colony.
I also agree that you should not shake the bees into another hive. They will likely be contaminated, carrying spores on their feet.
Sorry you had this experience, but at least you learned something from it.
Ok, so I think my best bet is to get rid of the hive and concentrate on my healthy hives. It is a bummer, but I feel like I have tried everything that I could and I can’t bear the thought of them dying over the winter. Although I do realize that it is normal to lose hives over winter. It is adding too much stress haha. I don’t think he will give a refund because he brought over a replacement hive.
I’m inclined to agree with you it is a bit much to expect a refund after he has replaced the nuc already.
I’m not sure it was cost effective when I saved my three hives eventually considering the amount of time it took. Some days I spent 4 or 5 hours in the brood frames using tweezers to remove mummies from cells. After you have worked on that hive I would spray any tools you use with a bleach to kill any spores on them. I didn’t give my suit any special attention, but washed my hands before working on the next hive. I don’t wear gloves but if you do they certainly would need sterilizing.
If you opt out with that hive I can understand you making that choice.