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Can someone please tell me what this is?

Scary to see!
The colony is still inside, lots of that black brood on the base and it looks like there’s fungus on it

Looks like chalkbrood to me. :thinking:

Could be chalkbrood?

Yeah that’s what I thought. Is it like foulbrood?
What should I do with the colony?

Couple of photos of one of the frames

I have zero experience with it, only saw it on books and internet.

Have a look here:

Hi @RaniK. What is the current hive setup?

Generally, there is not much could be done in this situation, besides of reducing hive volume to increase bee to comb ratio and improving hive ventilation. Then just wait and see if they can overcome the disease.

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There is some literature on feeding very ripe banana to the colony. The odour puts the colony into a ‘cleaning’ frenzy to clean up the chalkbrood.

Here’s the link:

Can someone tell me if the bees are being attacked by robbers, There seems to be a lot of fighting going on in front of the opening.
Or is this normal behavior.

Ooops, I will try and down load the video, or is it upload ?

No sure if it is happening.
Looks like I need help uploading a video

Hi @fffffred.
Removing mummies is not going to help. It is the final stage. It will reduce total amount of spores in hive for sure but problem is in pollen and honey that contains them. Larvae are being infected when workers feed them by this mix. Plus workers spread spores all around a hive by moving inside. As the result we have hive full of spores and conditions favourable for disease development. No amount of bananas is going to change this situation. Destroying the colony, burning everything what could not be saved and chemical disinfection of equipment will. Otherwise, the only way is to try to reduce humidity in hive, then sit and wait :frowning_face:

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It is definately chalk brood and I got it in a few hives a couple of weeks after I had moved. From first hand experience banana and banana peel did nothing to help at all. It is a spore that the bees will transmit easily about the hive. I had a great chap from the DPI spend the time to look at my hives, both infected and not, and he said that a stressed colony seems to trigger and event, and he even said that moving a hives location can cause it, spot on as I had moved mine.
I advised giving more ventilation and even spending the time in removing the mummies with tweezers would be a big help if I was prepared to put in the time, which I did. Doing that reduces the amount of spores in the hive.

Sadly seems to regard chalk brood and AFB as the same with the same ‘treatment’. In perspective it is only this year that chalk brood should be notified to the DPI in NSW, it isn’t in Qld and not sure about elsewhere.
It will take some time for the colony to recover, mine are ok after 9 months and back to full strength healthy hives.

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Yes. It may seem a bit drastic to kill a colony over chalk brood. But on other hand I wonder is it really worth it to wait a colony to recover for 9 month, especially in apiary of multiple hives?

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The only way to do it is upload it to youtube first (free), then post the youtube video link in a message here. If you have robbing, you need to act fast. :thinking:

I’m still learning about bee keeping after 47 years of having bees. When I had 3 hives come down with chalk brood it gave me the opportunity to learn about chalk brood, try some of the advice and get some hands on experience about it myself.
It cost me extra some time caring for those hives but the hives recovered. None of the other hives in my apiary became infected or cross-infected. I didn’t have to burn anything and send money or bees up in smoke. Your advice about chalk brood is the first I have heard of and in my opinion is a radical overkill.
If you had a flat tire on your car would you trade it in on a new car? I think not.

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Than you for all the prompt replies guys, it was very handy to know what that was while I was at the apiary yesterday.

The bees are doing a great job at pulling the brood out of the frames. There were lots and lots of chalkbrood on the base which I cleaned out thoroughly, there was excess on the base, so I’ll go back tomorrow and change it with a mesh base.

I have a couple of questions
1- in order to increase the bee to frame ratio, can I take out a few frames and spread them to different strong hives in the colony which have great hygiene?
I know it would be a gamble…
2- does chalkbrood servive freezing?

Definitely chalk brood. The first thing I think you should do is cut the landing board back to flush with the front of the hive. That would reduce the amount of rain water that gets blown back into the hive.

With that amount of brood that’s not developing into bees, the population will be down. Therefore I would select the badly affected frames to recycle the wax before consolidating the best brood frames while cleaning out all the mummies from the floor.

As yukky as chalk brood mummies appear, hive beetles will lay eggs in it for their larvae to feed off it. Therefore it’s important to clean the floor & recycle the badly affected frames as well as tilt the hive slightly forward while removing the landing board.

Don’t cross contaminate other hives with frames that WILL have the spores. It seems to me that spores in a hive build up easily but don’t transfer from on hive to another as readily. What I would do is if you remove any frames then cut the comb out and render it and scorch the frame and maybe also soak it it a bleach, then it should be ok to fit foundation and use the frame again. Do your bit by removing any mummies you find, that will reduce spores and help the recovery of the colony.
As for question 2 I don’t have an answer.

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I agree with @Peter48. Don’t give the affected frames to healthy colonies. I wouldn’t consider freezing the frames as an option. I wouldn’t even consider extra ventilation. Just keep a flush entrance & keep the floor clean & dry. Wet humid weather can exacerbate chalk brood disease, then made worse with bees walking through the mummies on the floor & landing pad.

After you remove & cycle out the affected brood frames, you could consider donating a frame or two full of sealed & emerging brood to help boost the population so that it’s better equipped to deal with the problem.

PS. I have had 2 occasions where no matter what I did, the problem persisted. On both occasions the only answer was to let the colonies make new queens from different queen’s progeny.


Thanks @Dawn_SD I will give that a try
I think the video is uploaded.
Look forward to some opinions
Cheers, G