Tuesday, July 28, 2009

European foulbrood

My morning started off (after cleaning the house) by getting into the bee hives. I haven't gotten into our big strong hives for a couple of weeks now. The last time was when we found that we had new queens that hatched so we wanted to leave them "bee" for awhile. :O) This morning hive #1 is doing just fine...went on to # 3 hive (#2 hive is in different location and still on the small side) Hive 3 I found spotty brood and all of it was drone brood! Even in the honey super......somethings not right! Further investigation revealed dead uncapped brood....looking dark and twisted....stuck even on the wall cell..I went on in further looking solely now for the queen. The whole hive was full of spotty drone brood....some dead...and dark. I couldn't find the queen....So this means that we either have a drone laying queen which is an (unfertile) queen or a worker turned into a laying bee. BOTH of which are NOT good! By the time I had gotten into them today it was already sweltering hot, I was drenched...even my blue jeans were soaked....so I took mental notes :O) pictures and some samples of the dead brood and put the hive back together. Came in, took a quick bath, put supper on to cook, my son stopped in for a quick visit. Then I set out to find out what we have in the hive....After much comparing and reading I came up with European Foul brood. (Never did find out how they get it) What it boils down to is I need to go back in look really hard for the queen(if she's there) and get her out. I also need to get as many of the dead brood out as I can to "help the bees out" (it said so in the book Penny):O)
We may also need to medicate the hive. (something of which I am TOTALLY against) but sometimes you do what you have to do. In the top pic can you see the dark spots inside of two of the cells? There was actually three but the bees are in the way.
Here's the "spotty" drone brood. The drone cells stick up higher than the worker cells because the drones are a lot larger than the female worker bees. Have I mentioned that the drones are males? The worker cells are capped even with the top of the cells. I'll try to get some better pictures posted.
On a brighter note I'd like to show some colorful pics of some "other" pollinators that we have.
A bumble bee on some of my lemon basil...... Sorry about the blurriness :O)
One of our Honey bees on my licorice basil
and a Gulf Fritillary on my zinnia


  1. I sure hope you don't have European Foul brood. I think they actually sell a tester kit to confirm it. I think you're a great bee-mommy, Julie! One of the reasons we haven't started with bees again is because they really do require A LOT of time to ensure they stay healthy. I do miss them though - and I know we'll end up getting a hive or two again in the future.

    Pretty butterfly!

  2. Hey Penny!
    I have racked my brain over this bee thing and it dawned on me this morning that I may have done it...I need to get into a different hive by this weekend to confirm it and if it's something that I did it will make sense and things will be okay...I'll keep ya posted :O)