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would ya'll please help me identify some issues on this honeycomb?

 
Jude Calhoun
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Location: central VA
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hay,

another beekeeper i know is having issues with his Langstroth hives, and i need to help him if i can. he sent me some photographs of the abandoned comb, which i've attatched below. i've got more photos if you'd like to look at them for more evidence of the issue.

in one hive, there seems to be a papery nest of some sort in the lower middle part of three frames. he hasn't seen any non-honeybee critters emerging from it. doesn't look like a wasp's nest, but maybze it's another bug? or some kind of mould we don't know when the bees ghosted, or when this nest thing appeared (so it could have been after they left or something)

the second hive, and this one I'm real nervous about, could be a virus of some kind that i haven't had personal experience identifying. when he opened the hive to check 'em, the bees were gone. even though they were a relatively new colony (about a year old), their comb was very dark. he is afraid it's American Foulbrood, and did the 'toothpick test' in some cells, but when he pulled the toothpick out of the cells, the tip wasn't brown or nasty or gooey. WHEW. So. what could it be?

He's located in Scranton, near Florence, South Carolina, and doesn't have much free time to be part of beekeeping groups down there, or be a mentee to any more experienced keepers.

ya'll were the first forum to come to mind when i thought about posing this question, and i felt it was high time i became part of the forums. also, it'd be real cool if i got a chance to receive a free copy of Christy Hemenway's book, The Thinking Beekeeper. cuz' i'm definitely thinking, and sharing those thoughts with novice bee enthusiasts (who are in turn sharing their strange thoughts with me) around richmond. there's a real movement buzzing here!

i'd appreciate any help with this, the dewd is becoming discouraged, and i don't want him to lose hope or give it up, cuz it's very very important to his mental/spiritual/everything wellbeing, and he's been having a tough go at it the last couple of years.

thanxx!

hi-5s & honey,
-jude
IMG_0553.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_0553.JPG]
a nest of some kind?
 
Aaron Althouse
Posts: 22
Location: Shine, WA - Zone 8b
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Looks like they may have sealed something inside. Seems like an odd shape. Just a guess.

-AA
 
tel jetson
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doesn't look like propolis to me. looks like a mud dauber or other wasp. not a big deal. cut it out of the frame.
 
Jude Calhoun
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the mud dobber thought is where i'm leaning for the first issue. i think that was built after the bees vacated the hive. so i'm not too worried about that one.

in the initial post about this, i didn't upload all the photos i meant to (i'm not talented with computer technology and buttons and junk), so here's an image of the darkened comb from a second hive that died out. the beekeeper who tends these noted that the cells were not gooey, but is still nervous it might be Foulbrood.. do you know of other tests to use that could help determine if it's Foulbrood or not? if so, how do you do those tests?

p.s. i can see in these photos some evidence of wax moth larvae eating their way through the comb (trails of webbing, etc), but that's not what's in question.

thanxx,

-jude

 
Jude Calhoun
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here's a photo of the very dark comb
IMG_0555.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_0555.JPG]
dark comb
 
Jude Calhoun
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another photo of the comb that darkened once the bees left it
IMG_0557.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_0557.JPG]
 
tel jetson
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looks like dark brood comb with some pollen stored in it. I don't have any direct experience with AFB, but I believe there would be a pretty nasty smell involved, and lots of dead larvae with sunken cappings. AFB is sort of the bogey man that beekeepers seem most afraid of, but I don't personally think that's what's going on in this case.

on the wax moths: might be worthwhile to just let them have a frame or two. leave it someplace away from the hives until they've reduced the wax to debris. that debris is a very good swarm lure.
 
Jude Calhoun
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oh, it's supposed to smell awful? okay, he didn't mention that on the phone. i'll ask him about the other things you mentioned, too, tel jetson. yeah, AFB does seem to be the worst of the worst diseases out there right now, i think that's why this dewd is so worried. he wanted to burn all his equipment, but i thought a bit more research was in order before he put himself at such a great disadvantage. i don't think it sounds like AFB either, from what I've heard at local groups, but i needed to check with more folx.

so, in your opinion, it's okay to let the wax moths have two frames of comb? i didn't know that was a good swarm lure! should it be left somewhere dark and damp that's away from the remaining live hives? (cuz i've heard that putting equipment in the sun//air circulation keeps the wax moths at bay)

thanks so much for your input!
 
Christy Hemenway
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Jude Calhoun wrote:hay,

another beekeeper i know is having issues with his Langstroth hives, and i need to help him if i can. he sent me some photographs of the abandoned comb, which i've attatched below. i've got more photos if you'd like to look at them for more evidence of the issue.

in one hive, there seems to be a papery nest of some sort in the lower middle part of three frames. he hasn't seen any non-honeybee critters emerging from it. doesn't look like a wasp's nest, but maybze it's another bug? or some kind of mould we don't know when the bees ghosted, or when this nest thing appeared (so it could have been after they left or something)

the second hive, and this one I'm real nervous about, could be a virus of some kind that i haven't had personal experience identifying. when he opened the hive to check 'em, the bees were gone. even though they were a relatively new colony (about a year old), their comb was very dark. he is afraid it's American Foulbrood, and did the 'toothpick test' in some cells, but when he pulled the toothpick out of the cells, the tip wasn't brown or nasty or gooey. WHEW. So. what could it be?

He's located in Scranton, near Florence, South Carolina, and doesn't have much free time to be part of beekeeping groups down there, or be a mentee to any more experienced keepers.

ya'll were the first forum to come to mind when i thought about posing this question, and i felt it was high time i became part of the forums. also, it'd be real cool if i got a chance to receive a free copy of Christy Hemenway's book, The Thinking Beekeeper. cuz' i'm definitely thinking, and sharing those thoughts with novice bee enthusiasts (who are in turn sharing their strange thoughts with me) around richmond. there's a real movement buzzing here!

i'd appreciate any help with this, the dewd is becoming discouraged, and i don't want him to lose hope or give it up, cuz it's very very important to his mental/spiritual/everything wellbeing, and he's been having a tough go at it the last couple of years.

thanxx!

hi-5s & honey,
-jude


Hi Jude --
Yay! Virginia! I used to live in Hampton Roads... and a few years ago I spoke to a group in conjunction with a showing of Vanishing of the Bees in Richmond... there are definitely some top bar beekeepers in the area!

I don't see anything that looks like AFB in the comb you showed the photos of. The thing to look for is "sunken, perforated cappings" along with a "foul" smell (thus the name) and then the toothpick test if sort of the deciding factor. Brood comb, by the way, turns brown. Part of that is age and oxidation, part of it is that the bees, when they pupate, spin a thing silk cocoon around themselves and when thye hatch out, they leave that behind. It's brown. The older the comb, the darker brown it is.

The lumpy bit is just a weird thing - could contain a nest of some animal but I wouldn't worry much about it - just cut it out like tel suggested.

Also - the thing that beekeepers needs to realize is that there are many, many variables that are connected with the demise of a hive - the beekeeper is only one... So the first task is not to take it to heart - that's almost like thinking a bit too much of yourself. Except that I know it hurts to lose bees, so believe me I get it.


-- Christy
 
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