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jeff33 

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Good morning, I am after a 2nd...3rd.....20th opinion please. I need to unite today and the Q- part is a hive that had suspected nosema last winter (I didn't test so cannot confirm) and the current queen isn't great with a fair bit of bald brood. I plan to shake all the bees out into a new bb with frames in this afternoon, kill that queen and unite this evening. The old frames including those with brood will be dispatched to avoid cross contamination with nosema spores if indeed it was nosema. I hate having to kill brood but can't really see another option as I don't want to overwinter that hive or keep that line. Any other suggestion?
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Shook swarming at any time of the year is an awful thing to do to the bees.
At this time of year it looks like a surefire way of killing the colony.
If you suspect nosema, now is the ideal time to get some thymol into them, changing the comb will do SFA
 

jeff33 

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Shook swarming at any time of the year is an awful thing to do to the bees.
At this time of year it looks like a surefire way of killing the colony.
If you suspect nosema, now is the ideal time to get some thymol into them, changing the comb will do SFA
I am only shook swarming into a clean box ahead of uniting with a queen right hive this evening to minimise the spread of spores onto the queen right half of the hive which is healthy. It may be a bit overkill though.
 

Murox 

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I am wondering what symptoms you observed? reduced brood production, reduced honey production, overall population decline, dysentery?? Rather a drastic course of action for a suspicion. But then you say you dont want to overwinter that hive or keep that line. Ensure that there is enough good quality honey and pollen for the colony and feed thymol syrup.
 

jeff33 

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It is a combination of most of the above which started last winter. In the early spring had lots of disentery and high death with the cluster down to 3 frames. Treated with spray sugar thymol which seemed to work, had another relapse early May treated again, no honey produced and bold brood now. I changed a few frames throughout the season but not the lot which is why I was keen to save bees by uniting to a good hive but not overwinter as it is or carry on with this queen.
 
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I am only shook swarming into a clean box ahead of uniting with a queen right hive this evening to minimise the spread of spores onto the queen right half of the hive which is healthy. It may be a bit overkill though.
I don't get this ... you have a colony that you suspect has Nosema and appears to be weak .. and you intend introducing those bees into a stronger healthy hive ? It's not just spores on the frames you should worry about - if the bees HAVE nosema (and I would be testing before doing anything) then they will be carrying the virus and you risk introducing it into an otherwise healthy colony ? Not sure that makes a lot of sense to me....

If they are a lost cause... they are a lost cause. Let them take their chance over winter - make sure they have a right size box for the size of colony - leave the queen be, treat with thymolated syrup and if they survive over winter introduce a new queen in spring and perhaps at that stage think about a Bailey change or just swapping frames out when you are facing improving weather and better forage not worsening weather and less forage.

IMO - not the time of year to be messing with them.
 

jeff33 

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I don't get this ... you have a colony that you suspect has Nosema and appears to be weak .. and you intend introducing those bees into a stronger healthy hive ? It's not just spores on the frames you should worry about - if the bees HAVE nosema (and I would be testing before doing anything) then they will be carrying the virus and you risk introducing it into an otherwise healthy colony ? Not sure that makes a lot of sense to me....

If they are a lost cause... they are a lost cause. Let them take their chance over winter - make sure they have a right size box for the size of colony - leave the queen be, treat with thymolated syrup and if they survive over winter introduce a new queen in spring and perhaps at that stage think about a Bailey change or just swapping frames out when you are facing improving weather and better forage not worsening weather and less forage.

IMO - not the time of year to be messing with them.
Thanks Pargyle, no active sign of nosema since May. In my head that hive which has a F2 queen from the same line is weak and probably not worth carrying on with especially if any of the drones mate with my future virgins. To save me the faff of getting that hive ready for and through winter I was going to unite bees ensuring the healthy hive had no contact with potentially contaminated frames. Now if more experienced beeks think its a bad idea, I can put it in a nuc, move them out of the apiary and see what happens next year.
 

masterBK 

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"they will be carrying the virus"
Nosema are microsporidians (once classified under Protozoa but now considered to be Fungi) not viruses. Sorry to mention this but as a former Biologist I feel obliged to point this out!

However I agree with Pargyle that it is never a good idea to unite suspected disease carrying bees with healthy ones. Also Nosema tests are fairly straight forward to carry out and most BKAs have someone capable of carrying it out.

If you shake bees with Nosema onto clean combs they tend to defaecate and then the combs aren't so clean anymore! Bailey comb change a much better way.

The presence of bald brood might indicate inbreeding (the gene for it being recessive) but more likely indicates a weak colony unable to control wax moth. Either way is it worth it as you can waste a lot of time and energy propping up/messing around with sickly and poor performing colonies.
 

beeno 

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You seemed to have a bad case of Nosema there. Nosema often "clears up" in spring because the bees defecate away from the hive, but comes back in winter and often kills the colony. As said above, do not unite with healthy colony and test for Nosema come spring if they are still around.
 

ericbeaumont 

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If they are a lost cause... they are a lost cause.
Do you really want to keep them, Jeff? Thymol is likely to resolve the nosema temporarily (easy test as MBK pointed out) but this is the time of year to make sensible livestock decisions, and with 14 colonies to play with you have ample opportunity next year to make up for the termination of this colony.

I went into an apiary in February one year and found one lot with an awful bout of nosema; they were due to be requeened due to defensiveness and it was an easy decision to kill with washing-up liquid. Twenty minutes later all that remained was the hive: the rest had gone on a bonfire. Never regretted it.
 

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