So if you’ve been following my saga, we got 2 nucs last week and 1 has chalkbrood. The nuc seller came and gave us a 3rd nuc and took the bottom board of the chalkbrood hive. I’m so nervous about this! Won’t the bees rob the bottom free hive? Because now the entire bottom is exposed! Also it rained last night and I had horrible thoughts of my little chalky bees freezing!
When I had chalk brood I closed the hive entrance up to about 2 inches and I think it helped in adding to the warmth in the hive that I think was a help. I also switched out frames regularly to lower the spores in the hive. There is no ‘quick fix’ for chalk brood, it took about a year till the hives were free of it. My affected hives were all solid bottom boards which was a help in cutting down on drafts. As you find less chalk brood or in hotter weather you can add more ventilation.
I also spent time with tweezers picking mummies of of cells and removing dead mummies from the hive. Anything you do in keeping the hive clean and reducing the spores is a help in getting the colony back to good health.
Don’t worry about if it is raining, providing the bees are not caught out in the rain they will be fine.
When you say “switched out frames” what do you mean? Right now there are the 5 nuc frames, 3 empty frames and a 2 frame feeder. So should I take the frames out and replace with brand new frames or drawn out frames?
If there’s rain around, I’d be inclined to give the bees another bottom board, a solid one & reduce the entrance. Damp air only increases chalk brood activity in my experience. Like @Peter48 said, reduce the entrance. If it’s not a strong colony, a 2" entrance is all that would be necessary. I think the bloke who sold you the nuc didn’t want the bees to walk in the crud on the other bottom board. If you can sanitize it, that would be fine to use, imho.
Always leave made comb frames in the hive for the queen to lay eggs in, Switching out frames is to take a frame that has been moved to the outside of the brood box so that the bees have emerged then remove it and replace it with a new frame of foundation which then won’t have spores on it, so that is reducing the spores in the hive. Shake any bees on the frame you are removing back into the hive. The nuc frames are probably the oldest so replace them first. If you have drawn out frames that should be free of spores then use them but if you don’t have them then frames of new foundation would be second best. The reason I say ‘second best’ is that the bees would still have to make the comb in that choice. Don’t take frames that have brood.
Chalk brood spores can’t be seen by the naked eye, they are far too small, so it is all about treating something you can’t see. Remove dead bees and larvae, keep the hive clean.
Thank you! I have lots of frames of drawn out comb, so I will try and switch stuff up when I do my next inspection. I’ts typically not moist here, we just had a random rain day, but I can still sanitize the bottom board and put it back on. How is that typically done? Bleach? This week is all in the 70’s-80’s and were in the dry dessert over here.
I use soda crystals to clean all my kit and rinse thoroughly.
I go a bit harsh with sanitizing. After scraping all the wax & propolis off, I thoroughly scorch everything. I think @HappyHibee’s idea is a good one. After doing that, I’d let it dry in the hot sun.
Ok thanks! I just scraped, scrubbed, torches and repainted this bottom board before all of this, so it had a good 5 day run before it was removed. So how often am I going to be sanitizing it you guys think?