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Found the Queen... and chalkbrood

I thought things were going well, last time I did a full inspection (just before Christmas) no probs but last week I did a quick check of a few frames and tried to pull out the drawer but it was stuck so I left it.
This morning I checked out front to see how they were and all happy activity, besides ants, which I dealt with but a bit later I decided to get the drawer out and when I did my heart plummeted as there were lots of chalkbrood mummies. Considering the extreme hot weather (Adelaide)

I am using a flowhive2, bottom vent in the open position, plug in the top board. I put the super on last week seeing as the frames had all been built (should I have waited until they were full?) Hoping but not expecting to have a harvest this season with the hot dry weather as it is.
The flowhive is situated with late afternoon westerly shade, sitting behind the cubby house which is slightly raised, facing East but clear overhead most of the day. 3m from side fence.
The hive is a swarm I attracted late Spring. I see there are dark and golden striped worker bees.
The Queen was at the bottom inside of the second frame and not quite in focus but at least now I know what to look for. Likewise, I guess I’m learning lots the hard way.
I suited up with my smoker and took lots of photos and videos and inspected each frame.
Nothing obvious to the eye, but closer inspection of pics I later found the elusive queen and things my bad eyesight isn’t good at picking up through veils, like larvae. So yay for that!
Spotted maybe 3 mummies in cells overall, but how do I know what is behind the capped cells?
Do I just clean the tray (dispose of debris hygeinically) and inspect in a few days?
What number would be acceptable and under control?
Does my queen seem to be doing a decent job?

Seems to be lots of bees in the hive, lots of brood space free.


! and not much rain I am puzzled by this.

Hello there, from what I can see things look pretty good. the little larvae look plump and pure white. However I doubt you will see any honey in the flow frames for quite a while- and possibly not at all this year- depending on how the rest of the season pans out. That one frame at the bottom that is not yet fully built- I can’t see any capped honey and the fact that it was late season swarm- says to me they will not have a sufficient population or stores to fill the flow frames for quite some time yet. And if there is no significant nectar flow they won’t put a drop in the flow super. I have noticed this year that there is not a huge amount of pollen around- meaning the hives build up slower.

It’s too early to worry about the chalk-brood just yet- often it clears up and there has been a lot of it in adelaide this year.

I just inspected two new season swarms hives today- and to my surprise found neither was yet ready for a super to go on top. Both hives have more work to do completing the outermost frames- and the frames are not absolutely covered in bees yet. However both seem to be doing well- and on there way. I have found you really want to wait until that brood box is jam packed before you put any supers on. You may want to consider removing the flow box- and checking back in a month. With less space they can manage themselves better and keep the temperatures where they need to be.


I must be blind! I don’t see chalkbrood but rather healthy larvae. I would remove the flow super and replace it with a standard super with foundation this time of year. The first year is about building up your hive not harvesting honey.



You can see one mummy in a pic but I didn’t post a pic of the tray that had many mummies in it. The bees had already done the housekeeping. I was just imagining there might be even more hiding behind the capped cells. That really had me worried. There was less capped honey than last time. More empty cells, though more bee numbers. Hopefully just a small setback.i had expected them to be more advanced in the weeks since the last inspection but I understand things have been hard for bees. I’ll just let them bee a few more weeks. :grinning:

Bees are actually pretty good at detecting unhealthy pupae (capped cells). For chalkbrood, they will uncap the cell and eventually drag the mummified pupa out to be discarded outside the hive. It is hard work for them (and infectious too) though, so if I find more than about 10% chalkbrood on a frame, I replace it as soon as possible.

There is no chalk brood in the pics, but your bees will clean up a small amount of it. If there was chalk brood in capped cells then the bees would uncap the cells and remove the larvae from the hive. A nice looking queen in the pic. With the frame shown not being fully built I wouldn’t have fitted a super on the hive, you have just made more work for the bees to do as they build up. Actually I would remove it.