Deformed wing virus

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Drone Bee
Dec 4, 2008
Reaction score
Dordogne 24360 France
Hive Type
Number of Hives
16 a mix of Commercial, National, 14 x 12, Dadant and a Warre
I have a colony with what I think is DWV. Bees are being ejected from the hive and are crawling about on the grass until they die. The ones I examined have at least one wing sometimes both that looks as if it has been chewed.
I have 2 questions:-
1. Is there any treatment for DWV?
2. What can I do to protect my other colonies.?
The colony in question had a moderate varroa infestation and has had Apiguard on for 9 days now. There are an estimated 200 dead bees within a 4ft arc in front of the hive.
Help,/ suggestions gratefully received. Mike
Get rid of the varroa as fast as possible,even then this can carry on and wipe out a colony,even after you have got rid of all the mites.
Take out any sealed brood.
Maybe a sugar dusting or two would help,what do others think ?

I would go for an early OA treatment at some point.

As I understand it,the virus lives in the bees as well as the mites but the mites cause most of the damage.

Has anyone any info on re-queening helping ?

out of interest our your bee's an Italian strain ?
Regards re-queening, I found this information on it may help.
This sounds more like a case of robbing to me. DWV appears more like a crumpled wing and the bees look a bit scrawny too. And I've never seen them ejected.
They are usually crawling in the grass all around the front of the hive,sometimes in small clusters.,up to 6 feet away.They look like very young bee's,not long out of the cell,some have just stumps where the wings should be.
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They are usually crawling in the grass all around the front of the hive,sometimes in small clusters.,up to 6 feet away.They look like very young bee's,not long out of the cell,some have just stumps where the wings should be.

Perhaps I'm just lucky but I've never witnessed this as a symptom of DWV specifically. I've seen exactly this behaviour but all the bees had wings intact, but at unnatural angles with the occasional shiver. Viral probably but not DWV?

MJBee's bees include some with only 1 damaged wing, a sign of some kind of violence rather than virus which would affect both. Might it even be the drones being evicted?
Hi Chris, could well be, who knows,but in my own cases it was DWV two last season very severe,one the year before,yet not a huge mite load,one colony responded well to treatment,and the problem soon cleared up.
The other colony went from a very strong colony nearly filling four supers,down to two frames of bee's and brood in a nuc box,not worth messing with,but i did,out of interest.Deformed bee's emerged long after the mites had been cleared,they survived the winter,how i don't know.This season back up to full colony,filled 2 supers,then ate most of it,lol, and still the same queen,and no sign of DWV at all. No cases this year at all,
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Thanks all for the advice. To answer questions in order:-
Hivemaker - treatment has been ongoing for 10 days (Apiguard).
Admin - I will uncap some sealed brood and see what I find, if it's mites and deformed bees then the sealed brood will be culled, fortunately over here I should have a good 2 months of decent weather to let them build up again. No not Italian big black French mongrels:)
Fenbee - Thanks lots of useful advice there.
Chris - definitely not robbing, "scrawny with crumpled wing(s)" is an exact description of what I have. All the bees I have examined have been workers no affected drones found.
It looks as if I will have to bite the bullet and cull all sealed brood. At least this will eliminate a lot of mites and the Apiguard should get the rest. This followed by a good feed will hopefully pull them through. My first experience of this in 28 years - bloody varroa:(
I'll collect some tomorrow and try and get some pics
A rather poor picture I'm afraid, it has been raining hard all day and all I could find were dead ones:(
ref bees wings small crewed looking.

Hi there Im new to bee keeping too I live in Cornwall and Have one colony and four hives three bait boxes out fingers crossed. Its just a thought, I have seen this problem with my hive with small bees upto 7 foot away from the hive (uptp 60 some days) and crewed looking wings- I thought poss robbing but I have only inspected my hive twice and what I did was about three hours after dark on a second inspection.
I bought the hive into my shed with the heater on and warm, soft light on and continued to inspect the hive.inspected the hive. I did this on a feeling I had after the first inspection(I saw faint looking silver lines)
On looking in I found lots poss 30 to 40 little grey looking slugs with tiny lines on there backs!!!! There were 25 on the actual frames and 12 of these were over the brownish cappings where most of the bees were also seemingly ignoring these slugs? There was alo about 20 or so small wood lice crawling around. I removed the pests thinking is it possible the slugs are sucking the feed the young larve need to fully develope?
When I got my hives two colonies from somerset after my grandfather passed on one hive was empty so I had one colony that had no supers I think my grandad got them as a swarm that year as he had been unwell and gave the four hives he had to a friend. I niticed before christmas 4 frames poss more with brown cappings on but a lot less when I was in the shed.
I have since Placed salt around the hive on the large slab they are on and will concrete the area in a path size strip along my rear wall to put hives on with a trench in the concrete to place salt in.
I am still feeding the bees but went 3 weeks ago from syrup too some of the honey grandad had in his shed as they didnt seem to want much syrup and they didnt have much on the frames either poss from the slugs eating it. I hope the honey they are going through will help them get upto speed and the slugs gone help.
The main point is I didnt see any slugs on the day inspection which means many ppl will not notice this pest. I have my hive on a large base (Slab) approx 1 foot square and this had alot of slugs under it. I have no grass as there is a fur tree and pine neadle fall kills it so if slugs are present here they are more likely present if you have your hive on organic ground grass esp.
I dont know if this has caused the problem I had with the wings chewed but I will try and get a pic up so you can see what I mean.
Im quite confident it may be as I have a verora floor and have check it with no mites present but did find a small cluster of grey slugs under in inspection board!.
Sorry for the long speel but I thought to get as much detail in as possible.
Any advice given greatfully taken Chris Stithians Cornwall.
Are you sure they are slugs and not slugs + wax moth?

Sounds like wax moth.

I did have leopard slugs - grey with black spots - climbing into one of my colonies at night. They are carnivorous, and just crawled around the bottom. Interesting yours were under the roof too.

Chewed looking wings is a classic symptom of bees affected by high varroa loads.
Ref last alternative way to kill mites inc Verroa

Yea def leapard slugs the wax is not dammaged like it gets with wax moth and I showed me neibour who put pellets down I cant as I have just got chickens they should keep the snails and slugs down lol
Yes I agree its usually a sign of Verroa mite, I have a cure for that without using formic acid showed to me by my grandad lol He told me its used in Bangladesh and a few other places in India.
To get rid of mites in Trac mites speek to a local farmer and ask him if you can collect some fresh cows urine, my grandad used this as well as our goats urine in a little spray bottle. Take your supers off if they are on and frame by frame spray some urine on the bees from a spray bottle. Make sure its not older than say 3 days old as it gets strong and the bees wont like it too much then but they wont begger off as a result of using it.
This works I have only seen him use it in two smaller nuc hives and one national and it was goats urine but worked the same I cant vouch for any other treatment Ive never seen any other used and like My Grandad Harry said, they dont seem to mind and it helps to keep pests away too. My guess its the Amonia in the urine that does the business. Grandad would put the top cover over the broad box for 2 flight days, to stop them putting nectar/honey uptop after treating them and then even after 4-8 days if you only have two sunny days after the second put the top cover back on the top of the supers.
I did ask at the time as I was in the military on leave in Ireland (Airport) They use it for clearing snow/ice on runways- I wounder if you could use Urea (Pigs Urine) in clear pellet form (Farmers feed supply hardware places) and water it down half to half he said we could try it in a small nuc box on a smaller number of bees. We didnt get a chance as he passed on not long after and before my next leave. I thought Id share that with you guys and girls just in case you have this problem and have animals and fancy trying it.
We did this on a warm day and for two days he sprayed clean water mist over them. I woundt do this on a cold day it may chill the brood. I asked if it made a difference to taste (honey) he said no because you only need one good application poss two and keep them off the honey if you have supers on for the two days. To be honest if the animal is healthy and on no medications I shoundnt think it would matter spraying them with water they will most likely clean themselfs off if needed.

Hope the info may help people who have mites and good luck
ps how do you get a picture up? In my pic I have a secont hive out and im not sure what type it is? Can someone tell me I know the WBC and National looking ones but didnt know this one. Its got a Wbc looking roof but the sides of the braod box are flat not like my supers.
Chickens don't eat slugs you need DUCKS for that!

If you want to kill trachea mites feed the bees thymol suger syrup but not with supers on.

Busy Bee
Acarine Mite? Sounds like the symptoms to me. Bees crawling around the front of the hive with deformed wings. Mite lives its entire lifecycle in the trachea of the mite and passes on bee to bee as they brush against each other. Wiped out loads of colonies on the Isle of Wight in the 1920's but then I could be wrong? No know cure other than believed to be controlled using Apiguard.
Acarine mites wiped out most bee's in the entire uk,they do not cause bee's to emerge with deformed wings,and can only be passed on to young bee's below a certain age,very easy to control with one short blast of formic acid,used to use folbex strips for control,or methyl salycilate, but i have not seen or had any problems myself with acarine since the arrival of varroa and the treatments used to control them,nor any of the little braula mites.
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DWG pictures of brood from my previuos post, the inner area of seal brood is all dead, the slightly outer lighter ring is stil live capped brood and all frames had the brood area moved up away from the centre dead brood

hive was treated with Apiguard, in late august and i posted in autumn that we thought the apiguard had not worked, on this one and another in dif location oxalic was not given and both have heavy DWV . all others that had oxalic or lactic ( mine) are ok

and 30 QC due to lack of brood space

from advise on this forum we are treating with bee-vital hive-clean and one with apistan ( ditching honey on that one till sorted)
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The first pupae you are pointing at does not look to be the correct age to of even formed any wings,the second one looks to have got perfectly good wings as this one is much do you tell the pupae in sealed cells are dead...they don't move or anything,and you can't see them. DWV is easy to spot in young already emerged bee's.

The pupa-to-adult molt occurs about 12-20 hours before the adult bee emerges from the cell. The young bee expands her wings and finishes hardening her exoskeleton during this period of time.
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