Still trying to figure out this chalkbrood mess. So I keep getting conflicting advice and I really don’t know what to do So the guy who brought the chalky nuc over originally said to take off the bottom board and leave it like that for a month. But it’s in the low 40’s at night and I worry about cold bees and robbing with no bottom board. But if I keep the bottom board on, the bees drag out the mummies and then other bees step on them. Is chalkbrood just going to be something I deal with for forever? There is a new queen and she is laying babies, but won’t they just be chalky too? I feel like there’s very little information about chalkbrood out there. Any help is appreciated!!
I think after all what has been done, the best thing to do will be to put your hive together. Feed a couple kilograms of sugar in 1:1 solution and see what happens in the next 2-3 months.
Definitely put the floor back on like I suggested a few days ago, & reduce the entrance to only a couple of inches. Chilled brood can lead to more chalk brood disease.
Stick with this forum Lindsay, we’re here to help you. @Peter48 & I gave you what I think is good advice in regards to chalk brood disease. There’s more available if you keep in touch & let us know what’s happening with your bees.
Thank you! You are right! I guess the only conflicting advice so far is from the nuc seller and I need to stop listening to him. I have the board back on now and have the entrance reduced. My husband is getting nervous because they are walking in the little mummies. We’ve both lost our minds over this chalkbrood haha! Dang it!
Thank you! I do have sugar water in their hive!
Here is the current set up:
(From left to right) Chalk brood hive that we have since added the bottom board back, replacement nuc with a extra box on top with just a sugar water mason jar over the inner cover opening, and healthy hive. It seems like the chalkbrood is going to spread to everyone in this set up, but I don’t really want to move the hives and cause more stress. Ahh!
Lindsay, can you show us a photo of the chalk brood mummies? Are there any mummies on the ground, near the entrances? Bees will discard them at the entrance. If you’re not yet seeing them at the entrance or on the bottom board, that indicates to me that the issue is not all that bad yet. It can be rectified with a little perseverance.
I found this image on the forum to show you what to look for on the ground, the entrance or the bottom board.
If all what it was as per their photo, it looks like mild case of chalkbrood. I wonder what is the rest of the rubbish on the floor?
Nothing you can do about the mummies except cleaning out the dead in the hive and around the entrance and dump them in the garbage bin. It is all about reducing the amount of spores in the hive, keeping the colony warm by reducing the entrance and time. Glad to read you have put the bottom board back in. I had three hives out of six that I relocated back to my apiary develop chalk brood. A guy from the DPI went to the trouble to come on a 600 klm, about 350 miles to help with advice. Chalk brood is not a notifiable issue in my state, Queensland, Australia, so he was under no obligation but he was a wealth of information and lots of advice from experience.
Chalk brood is not highly contagious between hives even when close together unless there is a lot of bee drift between the hives. It can be defeated if you put in the time. I even spent several hours a week picking mummies out of cells but that might have been a bit of an over-kill, but I wanted to do the hard yards to save the hives as quickly as I could.
Like @JeffH I would like to see a pic of the most infected frame so I can get some idea of how bad the issue is. The worst frame in my most infected hive had about 30% of the frame with mummies in the cells, but 6 months later there was no sign of chalk brood although the spores can be in the hive for a couple of years. It will of course weaken the hive but it won’t effect the honey. You might read that re-queening will fix the issue, I didn’t find it made any difference at all.
Forget what the guy that sold you tells you, he shouldn’t have sold it to you in the first place.
Hi @ABB, that IS a lot of crud. I just assumed it was bees chewing into the wax to overwhelm hive beetle activity, which I’ve seem myself on a number of occasions. However maybe not as bad as in this photo. Another thing that recently occurred to me that could cause so much crud would be mice. I’ve only seen what rats do & they leave larger bits on the ground. I doubt if mice would get a chance to do anything like that without getting stung to death. @Semaphore mentioned old frames. That wouldn’t be the case because the frame had brood in it, plus it happened, I assume after the nuc got transferred. It’s a mystery to me.
PS @linzisimons, unlike @Peter48, I found that requeening on two occasions was the only thing that worked in overcoming chalk brood. I first read about it on this forum. I had my doubts, however it worked.
This is the most recent one that I snapped underneath the hive when the board was off. This was a day of droppings, hard to see. I will get more pictures tomorrow hopefully when we inspect again! They are definitely larvae’s with black and hard white tips.
Also supposedly this is the new queen, hence the queen box that came with the nuc. But it’s all a weird situation. The nuc guy claims his wife didn’t notice the chalkbrood. But even my newbie beekeeper friend noticed something wasn’t right as soon as she saw it, and these nuc peeps are experts supposedly.
Sorry, last reply haha! I guess it could be mice? But I haven’t seen any poops or anything and I reduced the entrances. But I could be wrong of course!
Don’t over do the inspections Lindsay and only open the hive to help the bees get back to good health. Your last pic of the mummies on the ground confirms it is chalk brood.
Good hive cleanliness and reducing the spores in the hive and time is what will win.
Ok, I haven’t inspected them yet this week. Should I wait longer? I just wanted to make sure the sugar waters were full! And to check on the chalkbrood.
I did inspections weekly on the infected hives when normally I do it fortnightly with healthy hives. I found cycling out old frames was a help replacing them with new frames with foundation. It is all about reducing the amount of spores in the hive.
Forget about the mice. I think a mouse would only do that if there was no bees. I’ve never experienced mice in hives, so I could be wrong. Others will know if mice do damage in a working hive. You did have a large gap between two frames, which would give a mouse room to do damage & cause all of that crud if that was possible in a working hive.
I agree with you, I doubt mice would be an issue in an active hive, even a weak one. Mice would find an empty hive a great place to make a nest but they wouldn’t want to move into an active hive.
Yes, it is hard to tell what happened from such small resolution photo and without a possibility to see the hive personally. It also reminds consequences of a robbing raid. But there is no picture of honey frame to confirm or reject the idea.
This is a standard recommendation in case of chalkbrood. The idea behind it is not really to cure the disease but to remove the affected queen from the gene pool because her progeny lacks in hygienic behaviour department. Workers do not remove diseased brood quickly enough. And, of course, if such queen was replaced with a one with a better genetics, her descendants begin to do a better job cleaning the hive which helps to overcome the chalkbrood. Provided colony lived long enough to see the effect. Way more efficient method than using pincers to do bees’ job
I read the same thing @ABB. It worked for me on both occasions, coupled with cleaning (sanitizing) the bottom boards as well as removing the worst affected frames.
The only obvious answer for me in relation to all that crud that’s on the floor is hive beetle activity because it came from the brood area of the frame.