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Dead bees on coreflute- hive with chalk brood

I have a hive that has struggled with chalkbrood. Last year it seemed to have cleared up and I had no more mummies appearing on the slider. It started producing excess honey and all seemed well. Then a month ago I pulled out the coreflute slider and saw a lot of mummies again. I cleaned that up- and replaced it. Then today I had a look and there are mummies: but there is patch of dead fully formed bees too. The bees mostly look small sized- unusually so. What’s going on? Any ideas?

I am not sure if the bees pushed these dead bees through the screen- or if the bees entered at rear and died for some reason. The coreflute is in the lower slot and bees do tend to hang around in that space a bit.

Hi Jack, I reckon those bees have gathered under the screen and starved there. As for the chalkbrood, did you replace the queen since the last outbreak? Wouldn’t advise going into winter with chalkbrood if you can help it, so a replacement queen would be a good solution at this point. There’s lots of so-called remedies out there (such as the half banana slice) but they don’t work. Tried them all. :weary:

If that’s what’s happened it’s weird- why would they go there to starve? They could always have flown out- and bees above could feed them through the mesh… I think I might put the slider into the top slot though just in case.

I never did requeen that hive. The signs of chalkbrood completely cleared up- so I thought all was good.

That hive is in a shady location- I’m starting to think I’ll move it to a new apiary in full sun- remove any affected frames I can see- and see how it fares next year. If no improvement I’ll engage in a little regicide :skull: :princess:

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Have you notified the bio security

I don’t think chalkbrood is a notifiable disease.

Yea l dont think it is either its just might be worth letting them know

Sleeping dogs? :wink:


Just had a quick look at the latest bio security code for Australia and can’t see chalk brood in the notifiable diseases,don’t think this code is law yet but some parts already are and every one who keeps bees should read this…it’s an eye opener
Seeing Jack is in Adelaide I had a look on the PIRSA site and can’t find chalk brood as notifiable in SA but I believe in Victoria it is.
I had it in my hive not long after installing a nuc, I reduced the entrance and as the colony grew it seemed to resolve itself.
After a month of no mummies I found some on the corflute again but after a few days they were gone again and I haven’t seen them since,it’s possible the bees just hadn’t got to that piece of comb previously

Is it possible to treat (soak and then dry) used brood comb with a solution of sodium hypochlorite to kill off the chalkbrood spores, or will that render them unsuitable for the bees to use?

Sounds feasible, @Dan2. It shouldn’t bother the bees, especially if you rinse the frames after soaking. After all, bees love drinking swimming pool water. However, if any of the brood is capped, the bleach probably wouldn’t kill off spores in those cells.


Thanks Dawn,
I can’t find any information on using it for comb :worried:, only frames and boxes, however fuming with acetic acid is advocated for comb. I’m not sure if I can get that readily and it looks a bit hazardous to use, so I’d rather try the sodium hypochlorite.

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I’ve read a lot about chalkbrood- and I don’t think there is anything PIRSA could help me with. I am a responsible beekeeper- my hives are registered- and I am a member of the Bee Society. I don’t feel any need to notify the authorities…


They maybe able to give advice.

The advice for chalkbrood is pretty standard. Keep a strong hive, don’t inspect in cold, windy or wet weather, don’t position the hive in continuous shade and replace the queen if it persists.


Hello Jack, how did you go with that hive and the chalk brood?
My thoughts on Christopher’s comment is that notifying the authorities of a matter that is NOT notifiable is foolish. It would only add to your woes and invites an over zealous uniform to give you hassles and tell you what you already know…

my thoughts exactly :wink:

I removed the most affect frames (they were really old frames that had come with the colony as a nucleus as they are so old I will retire them permanently. I believe they are the original source of the chalk brood). The next step is to relocate the hive to a much airier drier site I have in the hills after I remove the super.

Then next spring- if they still have it- i will requeen.

Currently the hive is located in deep shade under a walnut tree (though the leaves are about to fall off that) and I think that has hindered its recovery. Oddly it mostly has exhibited chalkbrood signs late in spring and in summer- not winter.

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My feelings is that chalkbrood is more affected by ambient humidity than temperature, your thoughts?
If you have a site up in the hills it would be a good step to beat the problem.

I’m not sure- Adelaide has relatively low humidity- but where that hive is there may be a lack of good airflow under the hive. It’s kind of a jungle:

WOW, that is some jungle there Jack, It would suffer from a lack of air movement at ground level. I have no vegetation at all for 5 metres around my hives that are in a fire risk area. I whipper-snip down to the roots and then some…

Hi Jack,
Just saw your pics of the dead bees on the core flute.
Have you considered a robbing situation?
Just observed, when bees go robbing, they seek any entry they can find. They could have been killed by the hive from inside while trying to get in from underneath or died getting stuck in the screen.
Also, robbing easily transfers chalkbrood. It’s very contagious.

Seeing you got the flow super on, it’s probably not a weak hive and able to defend itself. Any other hives around?
Just some thoughts.