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Concerning Larva- pictures



I am a new beekeeper, as of May. I started with a 5 frame (medium) nuc from a reputable beekeeper in our area. The bees seem to be growing well and drawing out comb at a good rate, despite having never been fed. I do, however have some concerns about them that seemed well founded at my last inspection. I will try to post more details later but wanted to start with these pictures from this past Thursday and get the opinion of more experienced beeks. How concerning is it to have some mishapen larva? I’m worried about EFB but surely there are other causes as well?


Looks more like chilled brood to me, especially as they are around the edges. Perhaps an inspection took a bit longer than expected on a cooler day than optimal? Just thinking out loud. :blush:


I’m thinking along the same lines as Dawn at this stage. Just keep the entrance reduced & take another look in a weeks time on a warm day.

In the mean time become familiar with what chalk brood looks like through internet images, there’s lots of those.


That would be a much better option! Thank you for the replies. I took out the slider on their SBB and removed the entrance reducer, prior to this inspection, as they seemed to need more ventilation. However, I also added a new box and can’t remember when in relation to the other changes. For awhile they would beard even in the rain and there was some moldy pollen (? See pic). But then we got some days and especially evenings that were quite cool where I thought I probably should put the slider back in but didn’t, so it would make sense that they got chilled. Should I leave both the bottom board slider and entrance reducer in place even if they beard? We get a decent amount of rain and humidity here. I saw Rusty’s post about ventilated inner covers, maybe that would be a better idea than opening up the whole bottom board.
I was also concerned about seeing black bowl-shaped… things… under the hive (see pic); do you know what this is? I think I’ve seen a fair number.


The black thing looks like part of an insect but perhaps take some really close up pictures of a few of them and post here. I could be convinced it is the exoskeleton of a bee’s thorax for instance.


I don’t see any moldy pollen in those photos. I agree with @Dan2 in relation to the large black thing on the slider.

I would keep the bottom board closed & restrict the entrance to around 6". I evenly space my brood frames with about a 2-3mm gap between the frame shoulders. Whether that helps with cooling the hive, I don’t know, but I get very little bearding in hot weather. Maybe the extra space helps.

I don’t use any ventilation whatsoever, only the entrance.


I hope it’s an insect part. If it’s part of a bee, though, it seems like lots of people would have these? I will try to get some better pictures!

I put the entrance reducer back in today on its largest setting (not sure how many inches) already and will try the slider again for awhile and see how it goes. If I did 3” entrances on either side would that help with a little cross-ventilation? I’m guessing bees don’t think of two 3” entrances as equal to 6” :joy: but I did find the concept that they understand 0 fascinating (somebody posted an article here).


@JeffH do you use a certain spacer tool to achieve that? I was reading Randy Oliver, I believe, who said that you should push all the frames together tightly in the middle. I’m not experienced enough to have an opinion either way but need to learn good habits/routines. I have all foundationless frames (minus some/all that came with the nuc) and they’ve really done a pretty good job of drawing them. Amazing creatures! Here is a picture of a a frame from last inspection (think it was on the very end):


There is some debate on the forum on both topics: spacing & foundation vs foundationless. I’m successful in my sub-tropic climate by evenly spacing 9 frames in 10 frame supers. I space the frames by eye, which is easy to do. Once the bees propolise around the frame lugs, it’s even easier after that. I’m also a fan of wax foundation in all of my frames. The only hive I use foundationless frames in is my observation hive. It’s good to show people the bees building natural comb.

On the subject of foundation vs foundationless. You could ask your nuc supplier what he/she is successful with using.


Oh I see! Interesting! I do remember reading about that before. What are your reasons for wider spacing with 9 frames? That sounds really nice as it’s hard to squeeze all those frames in there sometimes without squishing anyone, and if it does help with ventilation, which makes sense, that would be another plus. However, I wonder if it would lead to more crosscombing with my foundationless frames?

Yes, I did know you are not a fan of foundationless. And I did notice significant drone brood last inspection, but I don’t think it was a huge percentage of the overall brood. Cross combing has not been bad except I noticed a new chunk through the window I need to fix soon. We will see, they are still building away so could make things quite messy yet. I think you also said somewhere you have foundation made from your own wax? That must be really nice to control what is going in your hive. One of the reasons I don’t want to use foundation is what’s in the wax.


Hi Leandra,
Have you read this? Hillary is a great resource:


Hi Leandra, the frame spacing helps with removing & replacing frames in killing less bees. It makes it particularly easier in removing the first frame.

It was after being on this forum that I started seeing lots of photos of bearding, then I started thinking that I’m not getting the bearding during hot weather like in the photos. Then I started wondering if I’m not getting the bearding because of the extra space between the frames, which allows the bees more room to circulate air.

I used a lot of foundationless frames about 6-7 years ago. If you want the bees to build nice straight comb, simply checkerboard the empty frames between fully drawn straight combs. You can still leave the 2-3mm gap between the frame shoulders, but no more. It would work best with frames that have previously been used or new frames with a starter strip.

Needless to say that by placing empty frames between two straight fully drawn frames, you don’t want to place one on either side next to the wood. They’ll build a lot of bridging comb onto the wood making it difficult to remove that frame without it falling apart.