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How long does it take for Chalkbrood victims to become mummies?


Newbie, so please be kind!

I have had a bit of chalkbrood in my hive, probably due to a fairly small nuc that I started with, and some really wet and damp weather in November. I also probably inspected the hive too often.

It seemed to die down a bit as my hive has grown, but there is still mummies on the mesh floor and getting through to the corflute. Recently it has picked up again and I’m seeing probably two dozen a day. In response, I have moved my hive to get a bit more sun and removed the corflute to allow a bit more air.

My main question is, how long ago did those larvae die? If they got infected on day 1, what would be the usual range for when the workers would clear out the mummy? Does it take a few days, a few weeks, or more?

Another way of asking it, if the problem gets solved, how long would it be before I stopped seeing new mummies on the bottom board?


Hi Mark,
Chalkbrood can affect any beekeeper and I doubt it was anything you did to cause the problem. The lifecycle is fairly rapid, from days to weeks. The fungus infects the larvae by mouth as it is spread from the gut in the adult honeybee. The larvae dies in the cell not long after it is capped and by the time the bees recognise that the larvae is dead (between 1 & 2 weeks later) it is already solidified into a fruiting fungus and has begun spreading spores, the white areas on the mummies are spores being released.
Most certainly relocating your hive into a more sunny and less humid location will help. There are many so called remedies and I have tried them all so I’ll save you the trouble as you want to get this sorted before winter starts. Requeening is the only option I know that works. The preference is to locate a specialist queen breeder who can supply you with a ‘hygienic’ queen otherwise look to get yourself a young queen from any reputable breeder and preferrably not from the beekeeper who sold you the Nuc.
You may need to ring around a bit, many breeders don’t spend a lot of time on the computer. Happy to help if you need some assistance.
P.S. Don’t leve the mummies laying around, clean them up as much as possible and thoroughly wash anything that comes into contact with them.
Cheers Rod


Thanks Rod, I appreciate the response! I’ll start calling around for a new queen. I got the split from a friend, so there isn’t an issue that I bought the nuc from a ‘bad’ supplier.

In terms of cleaning up, is there any advice you would give on how often? I need to pull the super and brood box off to get to the bottom board, as a lot of mummies get caught in the mesh. I worry if I do that too often, I am disturbing the hive and potentially making more issues. I don’t want to leave lots of mummies around though. Is once a week enough?

Also, it seems to be mostly underneath 2 or three frames. Would it help to replace each of these over time to reduce the spore count?


Hi Mark,

That will work, pick a warm day around lunchtime with lots of sunshine about. If daily you are able to sweep or collect the mummies from out the front, that also helps… those spores are viable in the ground for a couple of decades.

Yes, sooner rather than later. Mark them so you know which are the infected frames and once the new queen is producing new brood, move those frames to the outside of the hive, then once all the brood has hatched… cull them… burn them or wrap in plastic and dispose in the bin.


If looking for a new Queen can recommend this site/people. Prompt & will meet half way with delivery, they only supply queen cells & do not ship. They are from Hygienic stock (hygienic behaviour), site will give you all the details. You may still be able to get what you need…


Thanks! I’ll check them out.