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Seemingly Premature Bees on card


This was on the slide sheet at the bottom of the hive. Not the first one. Should I be worried?


Looks like chalk brood - A fungus - not to worry unless there are dozens - your on fresh comb?

If there is an old frame from the Nuc swap it for new as soon as viable.

Main thing is keep the condensation away - this encourages chalk brood - the hive needs to be humid not damp


Next time you look inside take note of how many there are.
The most common cause of chalk brood is chilling of the brood and is quite common in new beekeepers hives as they take a long time inspecting. It’s shouldn’t be a real problem and will slow down as the queen slows her laying. If it does become a problem some people find that changing the queen helps, maybe because she spreads the fungus everywhere.


The NUC had very dark frames so I suspect they are old


Both these scenarios don’t readily seem applicable. The hive has been open twice in 3 weeks and at a time when the real time temp was 31 C RH <50% . Night time temp have not been below 13 C and typically 15-18 C
I have the slide board in the lower slot to give maximum ventilation during the hot weather.

Pretty obvious I have inherited this with the NUC and leaves me a little worried.

Now I am thinking, Forget Flowhive maybe even take it off and replace with another brood box and shift all the old frames to that brood box. Problem with that is infected “stuff” falling from above will infect those frames below.

I need to think more on infection contol.


I am seeing this on the slide under the hive. Not sure how to recognise the infected brood even if I do open.

Does it have the potential to destroy the hive or will they battle through and build up again?

Edit: Can it affect honey in the super ie the FlowHive


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Ahhh. that’s not what I wanted to hear. I think I’m looking down restarting from scratch. Key question is does this cause a sort of hive collapse and the hive dies?


Not usually…Don’t panic…
How many mummies are you seeing ejected from the hive?
Honey bees maintain their brood nest at between 32 and 35 ˚ C any prolonged inspection risks chilling the brood if the ambient temperature is significantly below that…
If I was finding lots of chalk brood mummies I would change the queen as Jape says


It’s chalkbrood and that is usually due to chilled brood and that is usually due to a rapid expansion in the brood nest and then a cold snap. It doesn’t have to be that cold, just cold enough that they have trouble keeping the amount of brood they have warm.


You only need to reQueen if the problem wont go away.

Generally it will - most hives will have a small amount of chill or chalk brood at some stage.

Only if it is persistent and you are loosing loads of new bees because of it do you need to reQueen.
cycling out old comb, keeping the hygiene good, and not letting in condensation and cold will keep it at bay.

Some people will reQueen at the drop of a hat - if you have money to burn go ahead but it will not necessarily be a long term solution - good bee husbandry works 9/10.


No this is purely in the brood area. There are fungus and moulds in the air - you can’t control them per say but you can make conditions less habitable to keep them at bay. Not letting the brood area become cold, keeping the humidity high but not Damp - there is a big difference - Cold creates damp, warmth creates humidity bees need humid warmth to have healthy brood 33°C and above for larvae and 35°C for eggs.

Any spores from fungus and moulds prefer it a bit cooler Moulds grow best in warm temperatures, 25°C to 30°C


Thanks Michael. Talking in average type figures the NUC was transferred to the brood box Jan29. The weather prior to that and until the 1st Feb was Max hi twenties to low thirties and min high teens to twenty deg C. Then on 31 Jan daytime max dropped to 20 and the min for the next 2 days was 8 and 9 deg C respectively. Temperatures then went back to normal with maxs low thirties mins high teens.
Maybe the sudden drop in night temperatures just a couple of days after transferring the NUC was too cold for the hive to maintain its temperature.

Thanks Dee. I am not quite sure which day they first appeared. I may have just brushed the first ones off as rubbish. I am a bit sight challenged as they say. The first one I took notice of was a few days ago and was solitary. Next day the was a couple and yesterday I saw 8 which is when I became concerned and made the post.
I will do daily checks.

Thanks Valli. Dee has told not to panic yet so I won’t reQueen at this time.

I have a shallow ( <25mm ) pool under my hive for ant control, which incidentally isn’t 100% effective due to leaves, that may provide elevated moisture in the hive due to evaporation. I am looking at a new ant control method so it will go anyway.

Thanks all


I am planning on doing the same thing, but, I am going to use mineral oil instead of water, because I don’t want to worry about evaporation. My “pool” isn’t really going to be a pool, but rather 4 small saucers, one under each foot of the hive stand. I am been contemplating using soap water instead of mineral oil, since the soap should prevent evaporation too, and be cheaper.

As for the liquid filling with leaves, I hadn’t really thought of that problem. But… when researching the idea on the internet, I noticed a lot of people covered their liquid, now I know why. If leaves become a problem, I will likely attach some sort of umbrella to the legs so that they overhang the saucers with the hope it keeps leaves from falling into liquid.


Hi Busso, in your post “2nd week inspection” I thought I noticed a couple of chalk brood cells, this has probably come from that wet then cold snap we had for a couple of days, I noticed about 20-30 cells on my new swarm from about the same time period possibly because I put them into a ful brood box ( it was a very small swarm) instead of putting them into a nuc until they built up their numbers. Today’s inspection & alls good with only a small amount of chalk plenty of healthy larvae & eggs, other hives are bursting bearding & overfowing with honey, oh what a predicament to have to face. ciao


Checker boarding the brood i.e. placing new frames between the brood frames can cause chilling by disturbing the ability of the nurse bees to attend to the frames. Try to keep your brood frames together if possible while establishing your hives especially uncapped brood as they require more attention and care to maintain an even temperature. Weaker colonies without enough bees and poor conditions as well as genetics play a part, feed a hive sugar water as with a honey flow will help clean up chalk brood if the queen is young and vigorous. Some queen breeders (me included) are working on breeding more resistant bee strains.

That frame you are holding, looks pretty good (not old) with good pollen stores and the frames in the photo appear to be dated with the age of the frames. It looks like you received a five frame nuc from a reputable supplier with good frames but the coverage of bees looks a bit light on in this photo.

Did you add the flow super straight away as they would have had difficulty coping with the volume of air space and maintaining temperature? Result would be chalkbrood.


No,I waited till the brood box was about 90% full of either brood or capped honey before I put the super on.


Your not wrong there.:slightly_smiling: