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Brood dead on all frames

Can someone please tell me why this brood is dead. All the frames are the same. Cheers John

Hey @JWK, I think you need to do a disease check ASAP, you have sunken cells and I can see that the bees may have opened some up and realised. Note: the pinhole
Do you have an AFB test kit, if not then do the rope test and send a sample off to the DPI Labs for testing. Your local Beekeeping club will have slides for this.

Hi Roderick that was my first thought but there is no odour or foul smell which I thought was part of it. Is this not the case ?

The ropey test is the best way, then follow up with either the AFB test kit or a slide smear to the Labs. Doesn’t always smell bad… and could also be EFB or something else. Hope it is something else… fingers-crossed for you.

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Rope test came back positive, the only question remaining is do I have to burn the flow frames as well

No, not the flow frames, these can be taken down to Steritech in Sydney and irradiated. It’s not very expensive and is guaranteed to destroy the disease in your hive, no need to burn anymore. Do you have a local bee club who can assist? Steritech will make bee box cartons available so after you dispatch your bees, you wrap up the hive ( large glad bags will do) then place in the cartons. Steritech place them on pallets and they go through the radiation treatment.



Thanks Rodderick that’s at least a little good news. Is the honey in the flow frames usable :question:Cheers John

The honey should be fine and is safe to eat.

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Just to add to what Rod said, don’t let any of the honey get exposed in the open, so as to avoid field bees consuming it & taking it back to their hives. I agree that it’s safe for us to eat.

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There is steritech in Brisbane, closer to Bangalow.
I’m sorry you caught AFB. It’s the worst thing to happen to a beekeeper.
Do you know of beekeepers near you? If your colony got robbed, it may spread to other hives and nearby colonies need to get checked frequently.
If all your broodframes look like in your picture, the infection is quite advanced.
Please ensure you pack all hive components into plastic and seal well, so no bees can access. Also your bee suit and tools, including the smoker. You can throw it all in with the boxes for irradiation.

Some commercial apiaries have all their equipment irradiated annually, so if you ask around, you may find someone to send a load to Brisbane. Makes it a lot cheaper.

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And keep in mind it is a reportable disease so please report.
Around our way we are notified if AFB has been found nearby so precautions can be taken. If it is not reported area beeks do not know and the disease will spread.
This is why I urge all Beekeepers to register their hives to the appropriate department not only for their benefit but also for others.
Sorry to hear you picked up the dreaded AFB John, good luck moving forward.

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Hi Webcian I have notified the department of primary industries and getting a quote from Steritech. Thanks


Thank you to everyone for there help and advice, it is very much appreciated. Cheers John


We spoke about bee diseases and AFB at the Mullumbimbees Bee Club meeting today. AFB is around here everywhere. Bit of an epidemic.
It sure got worse in recent years.
As well as a few cases of EFB. Chalkbrood is pretty common as well.

We just have to be vigilant in checking our bees and do our best to prevent spread. And keep our bees healthy by leaving them enough food for winter and prevent cross contamination.
And don’t give them more space than they can manage.

I am not sure what the regs say in NSW- but I know that in WA at least you are allowed to hot wax dip a hive rather than burn it. Hot wax dipping effectively destroys AFB. That might also be an option if you could find anyone with a hot dipper willing to do it for you and it’s allowed there. Sorry to hear about the AFB- poor bees- and poor you.

I just did a search about that subject in regards to Queensland and it seems any relevant pages have been deleted by Qld dept of Agriculture so maybe it is in the too hard basket even for them!!! But I agree totally that hot wax dipping could/should be the first step Jack.While I don’t have a hot wax dipper I use a heat gun to melt the remaining wax to help seal bare wood work on used frames. It is a better option than burning everything, which, touch wood I have needed to do.
@Webclan cross ‘contamination’ is a fact of life if you have more than one hive. In the past year I have had to move my hives to a new location only 60 metres away from the previous site and left a box with comb at the old site where all the returning bees from over 20 hives happily used the one box. That and with switching about of frames to reduce/build up a colony tells me that cross contamination is with us like it or not. If there is a honey flow on the bees don’t worry. When I extract I put frames back onto any hive, as does every commercial bee keeper or ‘hobbyist’ and I doubt that increases any risk.
I once attended my local bee group to find that paranoia thrived on no more than hearsay and misinformation fed to beginners. I hope that they are a one-off group that was about pampering their egos.
Cheers Peter

Hi Peter, Weber did say that AFB is really bad in her area. It’s a good practice to avoid cross contamination as much as possible. She is in a good position to do that because all or most of her hives are flow hives.

I believe that the biggest contributor to AFB spreading within an apiary would be us not returning sticky frames from whence they came. Therefore flow hives would shine in that area.



Your right Jeff, if the frames are extracted in the hive that would eliminate a cause of possible cross contamination between hives. So that is a plus for Flow Hives but I consider a strong hive is plus in avoiding most of the issues we encounter, so good hive maintenance is as much a must in combating issues.
Cheers mate.

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One point Peter: I am not sure using a heat gun would entirely destroy the AFB. Wax dipping involves submersing the wood entirely in wax at around 140c for 6-10 minutes: long enough for the wood to heat all the way through and the wax to penetrate 100% through the timber- driving out almost all water which is boiled away. From what I undestand those AFB spores are increddibly tough. Testing has shown that full wax dipping does affectively destroy AFB.

The problem is finding a wax dipper. I tries in SA and coultn’t find anyone doing it so i built my own. Touch wood I will never have to use it for AFB.

Given that people who wax dip are often beekeeprs they maynot be to keen to have AFB gear brought in.

Lastly- more generally to everyone: does irradiating woodware also ‘cur’ it of AFB? Would it cost a whole lot more to get an entire hive oen than just the flow frames? perhaps that’s an option?

Yes it does. Not sure about the costing difference though. I am sure that Steritech would give a quote if you asked - they generally have a good reputation for being helpful.