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Is this deformed wing virus?


photo taken day 5 after receiving an undersized 4 frame nuc. found a good 2 dozen young ones like this unable to fly over next few days.

saw the queen being balled on the entrance board 4 days later. didn’t realize what i was seeing until finding her dead in front of the hive the next morning.

spoke with state aparist about situation and he suggested i send some bees into the state lab to get them tested for varroa & nosema.

wanted to make doubly sure i’m not misreading this and looking at old bees with worn wings before i went ahead euthanizing more of them as it’s already a weak hive as it is (and getting weaker).

many thanks.


It doesn’t look good, are in an area where there is varroa and known cases of Deformed Wing? Do you see varroa on your bees?


Get back to your supplier.
Get your money back and let him deal with it, rather than you going to the trouble of getting a definitive diagnosis?
It does look like varroa and you definitely need a refund.
Bad luck!!!
There is some real rubbish around


Rodderick, yes am in area with varroa and known cases of DWV. i’ve been collecting dead and dying bees and believe i’ve seen some mites on them, but can’t be certain. have not yet done a sugar shake test. i got them from a “treatment free” supplier, so chances are increased that mites are there.

Dee, have already notified supplier. she’s being difficult. she wanted me to bring the entire hive back as-is to her place for an “inspection”. i was uncomfortable moving & transporting a queenless hive after reading about the aggressiveness of them in that state, so i said no. she refuses to address the photo above.

at this point, the only thing i can do to prove definitively that this is an issue that came when i received the hive is have the state lab do the test.

i’m at a loss on how to proceed with the hive. i do not want to introduce a new queen or introduce any open brood frames (if i can find some) if the current frames are infected. i was given 2 recommendations on what to treat them with, but they are both “hard” treatments and i would prefer not to use them. i’m leaning towards an oxalic acid treatment as per this article:


i understand that chances are slim in saving the hive, but i wish to try something, if only to learn & observe. i have yet to dig into the hive since the queen was lost as i do not wish to do so until i have a clear objective.


I would be taking the hive back for a refund and go to a different supplier.

Being a new Bee you need to start right not be fighting battles that were not your doing.

There will always be shonky people out there, cut your loss now and let her sort it out

Looks like DWV to me I had one or 2 like that - but they over wintered and the varroa multiplied because it was mild - I did several treatments over winter and pulled them through it


Double bag the hive in heavy duty contractor bags for transport and take them back


Large mesh laundry bags work pretty well too (Target and Walmart used to have them when i was looking for them last time).


just make sure you don’t do it on a very hot day and make sure there is air getting in - I know it seems obvious but they still need t breathe


thank you everyone for your feedback. am proceeding accordingly.

those ideas on transport were a lot more helpful than what the seller offered. i have a cardboard nuc box that i used when picking bees up, so i will use a combo of methods and make sure they have enough air.

i had a bad feeling when seller wanted me to come pick them up the morning after a night in which temps went down to high 30’s F. but we were so excited, i shrugged it off and delayed a day.

one should always trust one’s intuition.


Hi F’man, it will be easy to take the hive back to the supplier as long as your frames are nice & tight in the box.You need to have a lid with ventilation or a vented entrance closer. Close the hive at night tape everything up with masking tape & you’ll be right to take the hive to the supplier the next day. Let her deal with it seeing as she offered you the option of bringing it back.


You have mites. That is the tell-tale sign. The natural way to treat them is to isolate the queen so that she can not lay for 3 weeks. Then the Varroa mites starve and leave the colony. Your local Bee Supplier has chemical strips you can use, but don’t use if you intend to harvest your honey soon.
If they came with packaged bees, I would use varroa strips with honeycomb so the queen can lay but the mites can not survive the chemical. You shouldn’t be worried of contaminating honey because it takes a while for honey to cure and that would be after the brood are laid.
Be sure to feed them because those workers will never be able to fly.


I’ve never heard that before.
My varroa mites survive all winter without brood


Sorry that is NOT the way what you are meant to do is put the queen in a specially adapted Frame to lay for 3 weeks and Cull the brood preferably with Drone foundation.


The queen is not starved as the bees get into the cage to feed her - it is made the same slot size as queen excluders.
The queen is kept on the one frame and the whole lot of the brood is culled.
This is not very efficient and cuts down on the worker force so don’t expect any honey.
The principle is the mites are attracted to the brood and only on that frame.
The queen can only lay in this area as she is effectively caged.

Yes it is a method of management but I would only do this in a severe infestation.
Using IPM (Integrated Pest Management) ie several different but complimentary methods works well.
Also you can’t guarantee the that bees will not bring mite back from foraging


If there is a severe infestation the best way is to shook swarm then treat the swarm before there is capped brood. It doesn’t matter what with but I would use oxalic vapour.
Re infestation after treatment is very common and is a reason for over winter colony loss.
PS but not icing sugar!


thanks for your reply Eliot.
the queen is dead so that is irrelevant.

the issue at hand is that, as i understand it, in order to keep the hive going, (1) a new queen will need to be introduced (either by the bees or the BK) and (2) new frames with open brood will need to be introduced while the queen is going through the introduction process to prevent laying workers and to keep up with the inevitable die off.

however, if the current frames are infected with varroa which carry DWV, those new frames of open brood will most likely also be infected, thus multiplying the mite population and the virus transmission exponentially.

it’s a bit of a no-win situation, yes?


It depends on how you look at it and it depends on the genetic health of your bees imo. All hive in areas that have varroa have varroa so the frames of brood you put in to help keep the hive population up and nurture a queen already have varroa. So it’s not a reason to not do it. Depending on your outlook in regards to treatments vs treatment free will determine what your next step is. You may want to look at less toxic methods for treating such as oxalic acid but bees will survive varroa through adaptation if we let them. However that means weaker colonies need to be allowed to perish so varroa sensitive bees are not artificially propped up and allowed to spread their genetics. That may sound harsh but nature is a harsh mistress.


adagna, after reading the USA Today article on the losses suffered in WI last winter,
i agree with your outlook on this.

my expertise is with plants and it works very similar…you want to save seed from the strongest plant grown in the harshest conditions, continuing to build strength and resilience in the genetics through adaptation to the immediate environment, especially the stressors. (on a side note, this is why everyone should save their own seed and keep planting that seed year after year.)

this is why i question the wisdom of importing bees from other locales, it seems like not only does it take awhile for the bees to adapt to their new environment but also the mites and the viruses they carry are genetically slightly different, which go then to infect the local populations. if you know anything about ticks and lyme disease, it works in this fashion – there is a wide array of coinfections (babesia, etc.), the particular matrix of which may very well be geographically dependent, yet constantly morphing due to bird migration, etc.

based on these discussions, now i understand better that is not necessarily the goal to eradicate the virus and the vectors, but to manage it in a way to give the bees an opportunity to develop an immunity over successive generations. my concern is exactly what you said, i don’t want to goof around on a hive where the bees were susceptible to DWV and risk spreading those genes.

i checked on the hive this morning. it’s thriving, not aggressive, mostly adults, very little capped brood, and 1 queen cell in development, so there is definitely a break in the brood cycle. there are still nurse bees and i have not observed any with DWV lately. i did a sugar shake test and got a count of 6 mites in little short of 1/2 cup. a sample has already been sent to the state lab. have decided to deal with the seller once i get the results.

gonna roll the dice and am going to try either Hopguard/oxalic as per below suggestion to get them over the hump and then introduce some open brood until the new queen starts laying. my goal is not honey but to raise a genetically resilient colony of bees.

thanks again for everyone’s input. this has been a blessing in disguise as i’ve been forced to really understand the varroa issue from the jump, rather than being blissfully ignorant and risk contributing to the problem.



Sublimating oxalic acid three or four times at five day intervals will get 99% of the mites


thanks, for future reference, this would tie into this thread:

and this study: