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What are these droppings on the core flute?


I noticed these droppings on the core flute the other day and have noticed it increasing each day. At first I thought it was little bits of dead bees but now I think it is probably capping that has dropped off when new bees emerge. Can someone please let me know if I am on the right track in my thinking. If it is cappings what should I do with it? Clean it up or leave it.

Thanks Paul


Hi Rocko, this is chalkbrood or stonebrood, its a fungus infecting the larva stage of your brood. You should do an inspection of your hive as soon as you can to make an assessment on the severity. If you have other hives in the vicinity then be sure not to spread the fungus with your hive tools or gloves. The dark and whiteness you see on the brood mummies are the fruiting spores of the fungus, be extra vigilant not to spread these around your yard as the spores remain viable for decades. See the post in the following link below for a few tips.


Thanks Rod, On reading that and seeing the pictures that is exactly what it is.


I have had a pretty major infection of this fungus and although its not going to destroy your hive you want to keep it under control or eliminate as soon as possible. I tried everything under the sun to fix my hive but in the end I installed a new queen and the chalkbrood was gone in a couple of months.


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Before you consider snuffing your queen (Jape is very harsh sometimes :stuck_out_tongue:), consider what you have just done. You moved your hive to a new location and you did a very careful first inspection. Some of the brood probably got chilled, and that can lead to chalk brood. So as Rod says, keep an eye on it, don’t spread it around, but don’t panic either - looks like you have a gorgeous queen.


Thanks Dawn, On discussing with @JeffH he has given me similar advice. As I mentioned to Jeff if not for the SBB I would not have picked this up at all so I guess the SBB is useful for a number of things. I will do anther inspection on the weekend and try and ascertain how much of the brood is affected. I am really conscious of not overdoing the inspections as it sets the bees back and I am not all that quick yet.


Hi Paul, with a solid floor, you’ll see the mummies at or outside the entrance.


Well, Jeff is a great beekeeper, so I am delighted if he and I think along similar lines. :blush:


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The frames can be slowly moved to the outside and worked out or the UK often do a Bailey comb change (but this is generally done in spring) The fungus or spores will be in the air - Queens are not cheap and this time of the year may be in short supply where you are. As Dawn said could be the result of an inspection.


British Bee keepers have been doing it for years - allows the hive to have clean comb and a fresh start - perhaps on a commercial scale it is untenable but for hobby keepers who don’t reQueen at the drop of a hat it is more sustainable


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Chalk brood is a mycosis caused by fungus “Ascosphaera apis”
Likes damp conditions
Prefers high levels of carbon dioxide
Mummification of sealed brood
Rarely killing a colony
Larvae ingest the spores with their food
Larvae die within two days of being sealed
The fungus grows best when the brood is chilled
Mostly spread by beekeepers, on clothing and tools
Chalkbrood is present on nearly all continents.
Chalkbrood will thrive in damp, shaded and lacking ventilation
Antibiotics or poor-quality artificial feed can increase your chances of chalkbrood.
Alkaline pH of the nectar makes chalkbrood more likely
Burning all contaminated comb and wooden frames can help prevent Chalkbrood
Replaceing Queens can help if she is spreading the fungus - but so can all the workers

So performing a Bailey comb change will help eliminate the spore and help prevent further spread of the Fungal spores - I think I would try this before replacing the Queen


Has anyone done or seen an analysis of the pH of various flowers pH? I never even thought of that as being a factor honestly, but it makes sense.


You can test the pH quite readily with strips - if you really wanted to


I have looked this up, Adam, and it is quite hard to find good data. However, from what I remember, much nectar has an acidic pH, around 4 if memory serves.


I might just do that at some point… Because I am a nerd.


Go nerd it and let us know