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Brown Cells - Weak Hive

Dear bee friends, I completed a early spring hive inspection on the weekend (Germany). The queen is laying but only in a smaller cluster and not as well as last year. I also saw these brown parts on the frame and am worried that it could be a serious problem such as AFB or EFB. I am also seeing some brown spots at the entrance of the hive. Any advise would be most welcome. With friendly greetings

Hi Joshua - are these the brown cells you mean?

That’s pollen in there…also some nectar where you see a shinier surface inside nearby uncapped cells. If this frame is from the brood area of your hive, the bees appear to be backfilling the brood nest, at a time when there should be maximum brood production in your area.

The brown spots you mention outside the hive could be from dysentery bees sometimes have during winter months. Usually nothing to worry about because spring sunshine and nectar clear it up.

If the brown cells you’re worried about are the darker capped cells in the upper left of the photo, that is honey. Different flowers’ nectar makes different shades of honey. Diseases like AFB or EFB stand for American or European Foul Brood, and thus affect brood cells rather than honey cells.

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Thanks Eva, yes what you highlighted was my worry. I haven’t seen pollen that color before in the hive and thought maybe it was old dead brood from over winter. Very happy to be wrong about that! They are back filling atm to the left of the brood nest but they still have three frames free which haven’t been drawn out yet and I only really saw 5 frames of bees in the hive. I was thinking about adding a super but still getting down to 3ce overnight and thought it might be best to wait.

One expert told me it looks like the bees have a bee paralysis virus. I’m hoping the coming warmer weather help with this. I will also do another varroa treatment in a couple of weeks just in case.

You’re most welcome of course. Sorry to hear your bees might have a disease - sounds like a good plan to keep the super off until they’ve recovered and repopulated.