Saturday, June 22, 2013

Bee - Deformed Wings

Take a good look at the bee on the right.   See how the wings are just not right?   I found this bee in the center hive.   I looked for more, but she was the only one.   Whew.

Deformed wings are a sign of a virus called, appropriately enough, Deformed Wing Virus.

The virus occurs just like head colds and the flu in humans.   It is passed around in many ways, most notably via varroa mites.

So, the first thing I did was put a board under the hive for 24 hours to catch debris.   As bees groom and eat, things fall to the bottom.   In 24 hours, you pull the board and count the number of mites.   That'll give you an idea of the mite load the hive has.   If you count more than 60 mites in 24 hr period, then you need to treat the hive quickly.  Those mites are spreading more than DWV.

After 24 hours I pulled the board and looked for mites.   With my glasses on.  With a magnifying glass.   No mites.

That doesn't mean they don't have any; it just means that the mite load is small.  

So,  one case of DWV is not good, but it doesn't look like it's going to be catastrophically epidemic.


  1. That would have freaked me out too. But with so many drones in this photo and none of them appearing to have any issues, that is probably a good sign since varroa go after the drones first, right?

    1. To my limited knowledge, varroa go after anything in a large cell. [Which is why I decided to go foundationless - smaller cells.] In foundationless, they'd go after the drones. I hadn't thought to focus on them, but that makes a lot of sense. Varroa passed diseases might hit the drones first. Thanks!

    2. True, but did you do any cell size regression with your first packages? To my understanding, if you already have large cell bees from a package, they will still build large cells even on foundationless frames. I would need to go re-read "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Beekeeping" or Michael Bush's book to see for sure. In my two hives last year I had one foundationless and one on "Honey Super Cell" frames, which are fully drawn out small-cell frames. I should be able to add foundationless frames in the small cell hives now and they should naturally draw out small cells......I think =)


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