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Author Topic: Deformed wings?  (Read 232 times)

Offline Clcotner

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Deformed wings?
« on: September 26, 2019, 02:45:53 am »
I'm new to beekeeping.  In April, I started 4 hives: 1 from local bees that were removed from a person's house, 1 from a swarm that came a few weeks later from that first hive, and 2 hives from purchased Saskatraz packaged bees.  I see bees from time to time in front of the Saskatraz hives that have deformed wings.  These wings don't look anything like the pictures on the web.  Instead of looking malformed, the wings are perfectly symmetric but very short (maybe 1/2 of normal length).

I know that deformed wings are often caused by a virus carried by varroa mites.  In theory, the mite load in my hives should be very low, since these are new hives and the mites haven't had much time to reproduce inside the hive.  Also, I have trays containing vegetable oil under all my bottom screens.  I saw dead hive beetles in those trays for a few weeks in July (the oil trays seemed to totally eliminate the beetles), but I have never seen a single varroa mite in the oil trays all year.   That would see to say that I don't have many mites. 

Any idea why I'm seeing short wings on some of the bees?    I guess the packaged bees could have had the virus when I received them, but why would I see only short wings and not malformed wings?

Thanks,
Curt

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Deformed wings?
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2019, 08:20:42 am »
Do you mean in proportion to the bee's body?  Or is their body short as well?
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Offline Clcotner

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Re: Deformed wings?
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2019, 11:15:24 am »
The wings are short in proportion to their body, but it's fair to say the bees with short wings are also a little smaller than the other bees.

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Deformed wings?
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2019, 11:31:10 am »
Next to the mite possibilities;
How old is the comb in the heart of the brood nest?  Old black comb will have reduced cell size from multiple layers of cocoons. Bees raised in old combs are smaller.
Also small bees and minor anomalies such as you describe can occur if food is scarce. Malnutrition.  Look in the cells that have open larvae. Are they swimming in jelly or are they quite dry.

Three things to do if you haven?t already;
- alcohol wash mite count. Never assume low levels. If you do not want to sample and rather make an assumption, then always assume the mite level is high
- ensure good combs, out with old midnight black, in with newly drawn.
- feed them
« Last Edit: September 26, 2019, 01:23:32 pm by TheHoneyPump »
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Deformed wings?
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2019, 12:39:29 pm »
Roy Grout did the research on cocoons, cell size etc.  His research shows there is a threshold and below that the bees chew out the cocoons.  Yes, they get smaller, until they get back to normal size.  We enlarged the comb in the first place with large cells on foundation and the bees will, over decades, shrink back to normal size.  Yes, nutrition could also be an issue.  Too many Varroa in a cell can also cause smaller bees.
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Offline rockink

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Re: Deformed wings?
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2019, 03:53:28 pm »
Is there a possibility that these are fieldbees that are just worn down?

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Offline Clcotner

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Re: Deformed wings?
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2019, 04:28:17 pm »
The comb is all newly drawn, since I'm new to all this and I started with brand new hives/frames.  I guess the bees could be old/worn workers.  Their wings get short/stubby when they are near the end of their lives?
For sure, they are not hungry.   Both hives have 12-15 frames of capped honey.  Even though it is late in the season, the workers are still bringing in pollen and nectar from the plants on my property: goldenrod, aster, strawberry tree, salvia, etc.

Offline incognito

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Re: Deformed wings?
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2019, 11:24:11 pm »
In theory, the mite load in my hives should be very low, since these are new hives and the mites haven't had much time to reproduce inside the hive.

The mite counts in 5 hives started from packages this year and inspected last week ranged from 7 to 9. We did not bother testing the others before treating.
Tom

Offline Clcotner

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Re: Deformed wings?
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2019, 03:14:23 am »
Wow...  OK, good to know that the packaged bees are a big source of mites...  :shocked:

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Deformed wings?
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2019, 02:17:56 pm »
There is an underlying embedded message of experienced wisdom in this thread. To pull it up to the surface and clearly see it:
.... packages are not new fresh clean cling wrapped off the shelf commodity.  They are a mix-mash of bee livestock shoved together into a screened box and shipped off.  Package producers will do best they can to maintain healthy colonies within the economic limitations of their business.  It behooves the buyer to understand that upon receipt this -new- livestock requires the same attentions (likely more) as the rest of the hives in the apiary to establish and maintain a healthy baseline across the operation.
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Offline incognito

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Re: Deformed wings?
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2019, 06:43:19 pm »
In theory, the mite load in my hives should be very low, since these are new hives and the mites haven't had much time to reproduce inside the hive.

The mite counts in 5 hives started from packages this year and inspected last week ranged from 7 to 9. We did not bother testing the others before treating.
I should clarify that count was 7 to 9 per 100 bees.
Tom