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Pests and Diseases


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Title: Pests and Diseases

Pests and Diseases
Pests and Diseases
  • Beekeepers Role
  • Periodic Colony Inspections
  • Recognize signs of bee diseases and pests
  • Differentiate between serious and not so serious
  • Know the corrective actions for each

  • Causes of honey bees diseases
  • Bacterial
  • Fungus
  • Protozoan
  • Virus

American Foulbrood
Powdery Scale Disease
European Foulbrood
Septicemia Disease
Chronic Bee Paralysis
Bee Paralysis
Acute Bee Paralysis
Amoeba Disease
  • Brood Disease
  • American foulbrood

  • Brood Disease
  • Good healthy brood
  • This is a serious disease that spreads very
    easily and at some time or other beekeepers will
    experience it.
  • It is caused by bacteria called Bacillus larvae
  • American foulbrood

  • Brood Disease
  • American foulbrood
  • Young larva ingest the bacterial spores when fed
    by nurse bees.  The spores then germinate and
    begin to grow rapidly.  Death to the larva
    usually occurs as the pupae stage is reached.   
    Larva that die turn a coffee brown and begin to
    melt down into a gooey mass.   Housecleaning bees
    then try to remove the dead larva and in the
    process become contaminated with the bacterial
    spores that are now dormant.  The house bees then
    carry the spores to other bees, and the spores
    end up either in the honey stores or are fed
    again to new larva.  Thus the disease is spread
    within the colony rather rapidly.

  • Brood Disease
  • American foulbrood
  • Robbing is one of the ways that American
    foulbrood is spread.    Robbing bees will take
    back contaminated honey to their own hives which
    will result in larva being fed with spore laced
    honey.  The disease will spread to many colonies
    within several miles from the infected hive.
  • You should always check for American foulbrood
    when examining your hives.  If you are able catch
    this disease early,  further spread can be

  • Brood Disease
  • American foulbrood
  • The way to test for this disease is to place a
    thin stick, twig, straw into a cell with this
    coffee brown gluey substance. Stir and draw the
    thin stick out. If the gluey substance sticks
    and ropes, it is most likely AFB.
  • You can also take a sample of comb from this
    frame and have your bee inspector send it in for
    confirmation of AFB.

Movie Clip
  • Brood Disease
  • American foulbrood
  • Treatment
  • If diagnosed as AFB, the colony and bees can be
    treated with Terramycin or Tylan. This must be
    used and consumed by the bees at least 4 weeks
    prior to a honey crop. These only mask the
    disease. The spores are not killed and can
    re-infect the hive
  • The only sure way to get rid of it

  • Brood Disease
  • American foulbrood
  • Treatment
  • Burn Not in a pile..
  • Dig a hole and burn the infected equipment and
    then bury to cover any spores that may be left.

  • Brood Disease
  • European Foulbrood

  • Brood Disease
  • Good healthy brood
  • European foulbrood
  • European foulbrood

  • Brood Disease
  • European foulbrood
  • Cause
  • European foulbrood (EFB) is a brood disease of
    honeybees caused by the bacterium Melissococcus
    pluton.. Larvae are most susceptible to infection
    when they are less than 48 hours old, and usually
    die while still in the coiled state. Poor
    nutrition and severe stress, for example
    insecticide poisoning, often cause this disease
    to break out. The larvae first turn yellow then
    brown in color. The disease is usually noticed in
    early spring, and to a lesser extent in autumn.

  • Brood Disease
  • European foulbrood
  • Multiplication and spread
  • The bacteria multiply vigorously in the gut of
    larval bees which have been given food
    contaminated with M. pluton.. As with American
    foulbrood, EFB can also be spread by
  • bees robbing infected hives
  • transferring infected honey supers and combs to
    clean hives
  • using contaminated beekeeping equipment
  • feeding infected honey and pollen.

  • Brood Disease
  • European foulbrood
  • Treatment Good beekeeping hygiene will keep
    this disease in control, however, if a hive
    should be found with EFB it is important to
    prevent any robbing of the hive and frames from
    this hive should not be transferred to any other
  • Treatment with terramycin A colony recovers
    rapidly. The effect of EFB is to reduce a
    colonies bee population and thus reduce a honey
  • Also consider requeening if the bees are not
    cleaning up the disease.

  • Brood Disease
  • Chalkbrood

  • Brood Disease
  • Good healthy brood
  • Chalkbrood

  • Brood Disease
  • Chalkbrood
  • Identification A fungal disease caused by
    Ascosphaera apis .  It is now found throughout
    the United States. 
  • It is a disease of stress in the early spring to
    early summer.  Severe cases can be found in the
    comb later in the year. 
  • Often the bees will try to remove the mummy
    larva -- it is called chalk brood because the
    mummies are chalk like in appearance and touch. 
    These mummies can often be seen at the entrance
    of the hive.  

  • Brood Disease
  • Chalkbrood
  • Treatment There is no chemical approved
    treatment for this disease.  The best management
    plan would be to strengthen a weak hive with
    more brood and bees, replace the queen
    (literature indicates that it might be genetic
    characteristic) with a queen of known hygienic
  • To avoid spreading chalkbrood, you can avoid
    using pollen from a chalkbrood hive for
    supplemental feeding and avoid mixing  frames of
    comb from a chalkbrood hive with other hives you
    may have.

Brood DiseaseSacbrood
  • Sacbrood  It is a viral infection of the larva
    and is named after the sac-like appearance of
    dead larvae.  The skin of the larva is tough and
    rubbery and if pulled from the cell with a pair
    of tweezers, will look like a thin sac covering
    the dead larva.    It is not a common bee
  • Treatment    There is no treatment for viral
    diseases. Requeening with good stock may help.

Nosema Diseases
  • Nosema  A protozoan disease caused by Nosema
    apis or  Nosema ceranae    
  • This is an adult bee disease.
  • Treatment    Feeding Fumagilin (Fumidil-B) in
    syrup as directed

Other Minor Diseases
  • Paralysis
  • Identification  It is a viral infection of the
    adult bee.  Often the beekeeper will notice that
    the bees are hairless or very glossy as in old
    age.  One might notice a number of bees crawling
    on the ground around the hive entrance, or
    trembling on the landing board unable to fly.  
    Trembling could be a symptom of pesticide
    poisoning as well.   In some cases the bees just
    disappear or dwindle away.
  • Treatment  No treatment for a viral disease. 
    Requeening with good stock may help.

Insect pests in hives
  • Varroa Mite
  • Tracheal Mite
  • Small Hive Beetle
  • Wax moth

Insect pests in hives
  • Varroa Mites
  • Varroa Mite
  • The greatest threat to all beekeepers . It has
    been responsible for more beekeepers leaving
    beekeeping than anything else. This is the honey
    bees 1 enemy.

Insect pests in hives
  • Varroa Mites
  • Identification This mite is known as varroa
    destructor.    Varroa mites can be found in the
    United States except Hawaii.  The mite is small
    but can be seen with the naked eye.  Mites are
    about the size of a pin head and are
    reddish/brown in color. 

Insect pests in hives
  • Varroa Mites
  • They can be detected by these methods 
  • Sticky board
  • Checking drone brood
  • Sugar Roll or Ether Roll

Insect pests in hives
  • Varroa Mites
  • They can be detected by several methods. 
  • Most common is the sticky board test. A
    protective screen is placed over the sticky board
    and the sticky board is left in the hive for a
    period of 24 hours. The mites on the sticky
    board are then counted. A sticky board can be
    made easily by taking a sheet of wax paper and
    coating it with vegetable oil. Lay it on the
    bottom board and place screen over it. This will
    also detect chalk brood.

Insect pests in hives
  • Varroa Mites
  • They can be detected by several methods. 
  • Second method involves checking drone brood for
    mites like shown in the picture. You can check
    individual capped drone cells -- use your hive
    tool or a cappings fork to remove pupa from the
    drone comb.

Insect pests in hives
  • Varroa Mites
  • They can be detected by several methods. 
  • Third method involves scooping up 100 or so bees
    and subjecting them to a sugar roll or ether roll
    test.  The sugar roll test does not kill the bees
    and is preferred.  The method is simple.  Scoop
    up the bees into a pint jar, add powdered sugar
    (a tablespoon will do) and shake and roll the
    jar.  Varroa mites will drop off the bees to the
    bottom  of the jar where they can be counted.

Insect pests in hives
  • Varroa Mites
  • They can be detected by several methods. 
  • Remember that more than 85 of the mites in a
    colony are in capped brood cells and not visually
    detectable. If a bee inspector see one mite, he
    or she will indicate on inspection report that
    all hives in your bee yard are infected.

Insect pests in hives
  • Varroa Mites
  • Treatment
  • In general use
  • Apistan strips (10 fluvalinate)
  • CheckMite (Coumaphos)
  • Formic Acid
  • Sucrocide
  • Apiguard (Thymol)
  • Powdered sugar
  • Dont ask me which is best!

Insect pests in hives
  • Tracheal Mites
  • Still a problem. Introduced in the mid 1880s.

Insect pests in hives
  • Tracheal Mites
  • Identification  This mite is named Acarapis
    woodi .  It was first identified as the Isle of
    Wight Disease.  This mite has become well
    established in the United States except Hawaii. 
    These mites can be observed under a microscope. 
    They are found in the tracheae of adult honey

Insect pests in hives
  • Tracheal Mites
  •   Highly infested hives usually die in the fall
    or winter.  One may find few bees in a dead
    hive.  This is contrary to starvation when most
    of the bees will be on the face of the comb --
    dead.   Early detection is important.  If the
    beekeeper notices a rapid decline in population,
    the situation is already out of hand. 
  • Fortunately, breeding better queen bees with
    resistance to the tracheal mite has reduced the
    tracheal mite problem from what it was 10 years

Insect pests in hives
  • Small Hive Beetles
  • Small Hive Beetles

Insect pests in hives
  • Small Hive Beetles
  • Identification  The SHB is found primarily in
    the Southern states of the United States is now
    found in many other states especially states that
    import bees for pollination.  It is called
    Aethina tumida . 
  • The small beetle is black and can be found
    moving rapidly inside the hive when exposed to
    sun light.
  • The Larvae may be mistaken for wax moth larva but
    they do not spin cocoons as the wax moth larva
    and leave a slime trail within the hive.  They
    can make a complete mess of a hive which can
    result in the loss of comb in the frames and loss
    of honey crop.  This beetle seems to prefer weak
    hives especially queen less hives to do its

Insect pests in hives
  • Small Hive Beetles
  • Treatment  Several treatments are available to
    the beekeeper for SHB. 
  • First, a ground drench - SHB larva crawl from the
    entrance of a hive and pupate in the ground
    around the hive stand.  The product is called
    GardStar.  Always read label directions for the
    use of the product. 
  • Second, CheckMite - TM a strip which controls
    both SHB and Varroa mites.

Insect pests in hives
Small Hive Beetles Treatment  Several
treatments are available to the beekeeper for
SHB.  Third , various trap designs. Hood Trap
- designed by Mike Hood. West Beetle Trap AJ
Beetle Eater Trap
Insect pests in hives
  • Wax Moths

Insect pests in hives
  • Wax Moths
  • Identification      There are two general types
    found in the United States Galleria mellonella
    L. the Greater Wax Moth and Achroia grisella F.
    the Lesser Wax Moth.
  • Both do considerable damage to bee hives that
    are in weak condition and to stored comb in
    supers.   It is the Wax moth larva that are a
    serious problem in warm weather and dark
    conditions.  They can do a lot of damage in a
    very short period of time.

Insect pests in hives
  • Wax Moths
  •   Treatment  Wax moths attack weak hives. 
    Strong hives will kept them under control.  
  • Wax moths do not like light.  Exposing equipment
    to light will deter moths
  • Closing up equipment tightly and fumigating with
    "Para-moth" (Para-Dichlorobenzene crystals) a
    product available from most bee suppliers
  • Using biological control such as Bacillus
    thuringiensis (BT-401, Certan, Xentari)
  • See Ann Harmans article in February 2007 Bee
    Culture Magazine. A good investment in
    beekeeping is to subscribe to the bee magazines.

  • And talking about pests..
  • Here are a few
  • Ants
  • Yellow Jackets
  • Mice
  • Skunks
  • Ratcoons
  • Snakes

  • The End