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Author Topic: Chalk Brood question  (Read 256 times)

Offline Aroc

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Chalk Brood question
« on: April 09, 2021, 12:30:49 am »
We have a hive that was infected with chalk brood last year.  Did everything we could to dry out the hive to get rid of it.

Is that even possible?  Is it possible to completely get rid of chalk brood or is it always there?  They survived the Montana winter and so far they look good.  Not sure what it looks like inside yet as we haven?t been able to get into this one yet this year.  So far there isn?t the tell tale ?mummies? on the front porch.

Any information would help.

Thank you so much in advance
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Offline TheHoneyPump

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Chalk Brood question
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2021, 01:49:52 am »
True chalk brood is caused by a fungus infection.  In other words, mold.  You can help the bees clear it up by treating or feeding ingredients that have anti-fungal properties. For example;  thymol based products as well as some other similar naturally occurring substances. Propolis specifically is an essential component of a beehive that the bees use for controlling microbes and fungi. Clean up what you need to but try to avoid scraping everything perfectly clean. As beekeepers we are not big fans of sticky propolis glueing everything together, however have you not noticed that the hives that have more of it tend to be the healthier colonies? There is a microscopic level reason for that.

As for off the shelf options. Whatever is in honey bee healthy seems to work. My experience is HBH is helpful with chalk brood. I add it to pollen supplement feed patties. A bit of bleach in the spring sugar syrup feed helps as well. In severe cases, a hive so messed up with mummies that it is considered a lost causs, I have taken the hive completely apart and sprayed every frame, every box wall, every bee with a squirt bottle of a warm mix of HBH, smidgen of bleach, and sugar water.  2weeks later the hive is clean and unrecognizable as having had a problem. For a use of thymol to help, just cycle in an approved thymol based mite treatment into your IPM plan. Youll kill some mites and clean up the microbes at the same time. 

Those are just a few ideas there for your to consideration. 

Now, I did say True chalk brood.  There are other pests and diseases that can cause tossed mummies, that are not the same fungus/mold category. Personally, I think there is a lot of room for expanding research into this area and improving beekeepers understanding of chalk brood symptoms.  I see and hear many say chalk brood this, chalk brood that, when a lot of times the experienced beekeepers are saying it is not chalk brood but some other causal factor that are not yet fully known or understood. Any aspiring phd students out there looking for something other than mites to study?  Consider this as an area of opportunity to make a significant academic contribution to the beekeeping community.

« Last Edit: April 09, 2021, 01:20:16 pm by TheHoneyPump »
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Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: Chalk Brood question
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2021, 02:29:27 am »
There is an ex Canadian / US bee keeper, Jody Gertz who is doing research into Chalk Brood.
She is working on hygienic bees that throw the infected larvae out of the hive early in the infection cycle.
If the mummies coming out are white then the fungus hasn't sporulated yet. If they are black or dark grey then the fungus has sporulated in the hive and more larvae will be infected.
Jody believes that CB is about 70% genetic, the bees ability to detect and remove non healthy larvae, the rest is nutrition and maintaining hive temperature. She says that if the hive temp drops below 32C then the brood are more susceptible to CB.
We have been culling queens in CB hives and have made a marked difference to its occurrence. At present we only have 1 CB hive in 360, and that queen is on limited time.

Offline rast

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Re: Chalk Brood question
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2021, 09:16:16 am »
I also was told that I would always have chalkbrood problems with a certain hive that had it if I didn't requeen it. I didn't and it did till it expired.
Fools argue; wise men discuss.
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Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: Chalk Brood question
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2021, 12:27:08 pm »
Aroc, hello to Montana.

I dealt with chalkbrood years ago.  I requeened, removed the frames with mummies and all has been well ever since.  I requeen as Old Beavo suggest: to improve genetics.  That is, I want nurse bees that remove defective larva preventing chalkbrood infestation.
I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.