Is this AFB? Or I am Paranoid?

Hi All,

I inspected the hive the other day and took some photos. After reading about AFB, I got worried that my hive is affected. See the photos. Are they ok?

Thanks a lot.


Hi Roshi,

It doesn’t look like you have AFB to me.

I would inspect again in two weeks and post pictures again of anything concerning you.

It’s great that you’re being proactive in the care of your bees - hopefully they’ll thrive under your care :slight_smile:

Hi Roshi, I agree with Free. I can’t see any obvious signs of AFB. Healthy brood caps do get slightly sunken just before bees are ready to emerge, which appears to be happening in your photos. I see a couple of suspect cells, which could be chalk brood.

If you see any cells that don’t look right, just remove the cap with a tooth pick or something similar to take a look inside. If you see anything that looks unhealthy, don’t hesitate to get a closeup photo to show us.


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The classic field test for AFB is the matchstick test. Insert a matchstick into a suspect cell and withdraw it. The contents should form a thick rope from the matchstick. Its sometimes called the ropiness test too. Here is a link with a good photo and description. I wouldn’t be worried about AFB based on your photos.

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There are some earlier signs you can look for before the rope test too.

The most obvious will be pin prick type perforations in the cells.

You can also be on alert for sunken and greasy capping (likely a fair bit more sunken than yours look), and a very scattered cell formation.

A proliferation of small hive beetles can also be of concern, as they are opportunistic creatures and will target a weak hive (which may be caused by AFB or various other causes such as a nectar dearth). These are a potential indicator of a problem, rather than a sign of AFB as such - but the two do often go hand in hand.

Good luck and we look forward to a update from you next inspection :slight_smile:

Thank you all for your help and reassurance. There is no sign of SHB at all. Nothing in the tray either, which is good. So, for now I sit tight.

I will check the hive on the weekend and try to have some better photos of the brood only.

Thanks again.


this is an obvious sign- but at times can be confused: when a bee is emerging from a cell it can have a small hole in- and when it is being capped off also. So just seeing the odd hole in capping here and there doesn’t automatically mean it is AFB. I just say this as some people have over reacted on seeing a single hole or two…


Good point Jack, and worth mentioning that in general with beekeeping, these sorts of things are just red flags and an indication that it’s worth asking the DPI (or equivalent local body) to do a slide test to confirm your suspicions. These sorts of potential indicators are not in themselves confirmation of AFB (or anything else). That being said… I don’t think Roshi’s hive has AFB anyway, so very promising indications so far :slight_smile:

Thank you all for the help and re-assurance. Happy to report that I don’t think AFB is present at this hive.

Here is proof, I think:

And she was there too:

I split the two hives and created one additional hive, 5 frames from one hive and 2 from this hive. Hope it works!

Thank you again.




Hi Roshi, those two frames look excellent to me. I can’t see any sign of disease in either of those photos.