Inspection notes – Is Chalk brood a national problem?

After the arrival of my 6th grandchild just a few days ago, I’m afraid the rainy day made me assume we wouldn’t open the hives so I went to have a second cuddle with granddaughter instead of attending the Hughenden manor apiary inspection!

Luckily Janet sent this excellent report:

Hello Everyone,   Weather was rather disappointing today: 16 celcius and breezy. The girls weren’t too keen on being disturbed, but Keith and Chris inspected them with the following results.

Hive 1: No bees. Brood in frame inserted last week had died so frame removed for recycling. Seven day varroa count 5.  Action Hive closed.

 Hive 3:  Frame 1, bees and stores; frame 2, brood plus quite a lot of chalk brood; frame 3, capped and uncapped brood; frame 4, capped and uncapped brood; frame 5, brood and stores; frame 6, stores. Varroa count, about 10 or 12.

Hive 5:  Six frames of honey in super. No inspection; no varroa board.  Action Extra super put on.

Hive 6:  Few bees (one and a half frames only); no brood.

To do Try to find queen; combine with Hive 7 on Friday 5th July.

 Hive 7:  Four frames of bees; some brood and stores. Five sealed queen cells (two on frame 2 and four on frame 3). Varroa count 0.  To do Find queen before combining with Hive 6 on Friday 5th July.

Cheers,  Janet

I inspected my bees at home today and also saw some chalk brood.  The hive I thought was thriving looked less happy than I had hoped – no eggs visible.  The hive I thought was teh wekest looked better than expected though still a little chalk brood.

I searched online to refresh my mind about chalk brood and see whether there were other beekeepers discussing it and whether any recommendations were made.  In summery; many said it was the prolonged colder/damp weather; some swore the only answer was to requeen though one added the fact that this was just a gene pool lottery.  Checking for nosema was suggested along with the fact that it indicated stress in the colony so that could be caused by other diseases.  Try Hive Clean was a welcome positive comment and it seemed wise to check for other things like varroa in case the stress was from that.  No magic wand, then!  Oh and the idea that salt should be provided was mentioned though dismissed by many as nothing more than an old wives tail.  So I am personally in a quandary and any other observations would be welcome.



About apiarylandlord

Definitely past it - whatever it was - I may have blinked and missed it. New to beekeeping and totally entranced by the experience. That is probably all you need to know until I work out how secure this blog is. Great fan of recycling - see to find your local group. Save things from landfill. Pass on your surplus, locally, for free or ask for things you need in case you can have someone's cast off again for free.
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One Response to Inspection notes – Is Chalk brood a national problem?

  1. Emily Heath says:

    A Ealing beekeeper I know had the bee inspector round recently and she spotted chalkbrood. She told him current thinking is it’s not influenced by genetics so requeening won’t help.

    When I was researching for my BBKA diseases module exam earlier this year the books said chalkbrood becomes a problem during times of stress on the colony when the bees are failing to maintain the correct levels of carbon dioxide in the hive. This can be due to factors such as insufficient nurse bees, poor weather or pollen shortages. Mantaining strong colonies, using dummy boards to border the brood area if the colony is small and changing brood combs annually should help.

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