i am often struck by an apparent contradiction re preventing disease spread

Beekeeping Forum

Help Support Beekeeping Forum:

Cuckmere couple 

Drone Bee
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
May 29, 2018
Messages
1,062
Reaction score
59
Location
East Sussex
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
9.5
i hear people talk of sensible precautions such as cleaning hive tools between apiaries or even hives, sometimes gloves too etc to minimise risk of cross infection

all sensible, even if no visible signs of disease

but then, there are suggested actions such as balancing brood, swapping brood frames, not always giving supers back to same colony...swapping colonies to balance out strength by picking up flyers etc which clearly risk cross contamination on a much larger scale than the first categories

keen to hear thoughts as to whether this is a contradiction, or a risk people just live with out of necessity to take the action required, and i don't think its as simple as it being ok providing you check for signs of disease before swapping hives or frames etc as early stages can be easily missed.....
 

Erichalfbee 

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
21,523
Reaction score
3,262
Location
Ceredigion
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
7
I have only 7 colonies. They are all in the same place so I don’t feel the need to disinfect anything. A simple change of gloves and a separate hive tool for every colony suffices.
As for supers they are swapped all over the place and I don’t keep track of where they were.
If I had bees in different locations I might be more careful.
 

drdrday 

House Bee
Joined
May 2, 2018
Messages
293
Reaction score
209
Location
Nr Maidstone, Kent, UK
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
2 + 1 nuc
I agree, I always find these suggestions rather disconcerting.
Personally, I wouldn't swap brood frames unless I had a vital reason for doing so. I guess some others may judge it to be worth the risk, but it's not for me.
I also label my super frames and boxes so that I can put them back on the same hive. Not saying I'll always manage this, but I aim to try (of course the risk should be much less with super frames/boxes anyway).
 

The Poot 

Field Bee
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Feb 15, 2015
Messages
620
Reaction score
577
Location
Dorset
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
4
I wash my gloves and hive tool in soda between each colony as I inspect. It’s good to de-propalise the gloves anyway. I mark supers to go back on the hive it came off, as that seems fair, other than that, as it is one site with four hives, I don’t worry.
 

madasafish 

Queen Bee
Joined
Apr 10, 2010
Messages
9,731
Reaction score
1,008
Location
Stoke on Trent
Hive Type
langstroth
Number of Hives
6 to 8 Langstroth jumbos, a few Langstroth and National nucs.
I swap brood frames in and out and only keep supers on the same hives during the year.

But having had personal experience of a numbers of outbreaks of disease, I am reasonably confident in my ability to recognise most types. :)confused:)
BUT drones float from hive to hive and if you have hives within 10 meters of another you will get some drifting.

I would not take any brood from a colony with: chalkbrood, CBPV, nosema (visible), visible varroa etc. but I do cull varroa /CBPV and chalkbrood prevalent queens.

Notifiable diseases are a completely different thing.
 

Erichalfbee 

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
21,523
Reaction score
3,262
Location
Ceredigion
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
7
To those who label their supers for return, what do you do with them after a split or when you lose a colony?
 

elainemary 

Field Bee
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Jun 1, 2019
Messages
543
Reaction score
552
Location
Yorkshire
Hive Type
wbc
Number of Hives
10
i hear people talk of sensible precautions such as cleaning hive tools between apiaries or even hives, sometimes gloves too etc to minimise risk of cross infection

all sensible, even if no visible signs of disease

but then, there are suggested actions such as balancing brood, swapping brood frames, not always giving supers back to same colony...swapping colonies to balance out strength by picking up flyers etc which clearly risk cross contamination on a much larger scale than the first categories

keen to hear thoughts as to whether this is a contradiction, or a risk people just live with out of necessity to take the action required, and i don't think its as simple as it being ok providing you check for signs of disease before swapping hives or frames etc as early stages can be easily missed.....
Agree it is confusing especially for beginners. A bee inspector once said to me you could consider each apiary as one super colony due to drifting / proximity. Though keep small numbers per apiary and try to give a bit of space / vary entrance directions.

I take a container of washing soda and clean tools between hives and change gloves between apiaries. I will swop brood frames within an apiary but only if I’m happy there is no disease eg chalkbrood, sacbrood and I monitor for nosema each spring.

Any empty combs or food combs or supers I want to use between apiaries i disinfect in 80% acetic acid first. Also treat any supers that have come from a colony that has had chalkbrood. Though this is v rare for my bees and only seen in it the odd Nuc which tends to recover quickly.
I read somewhere that nosema only lives for up to 4 months on empty combs, so whilst I used to try matching supers to colonies, I no longer do this after winter storage.

Been on a couple of healthy bees days with the NBU and try to look out for anything unusual at each inspection. Got a section on my records to prompt me. Fortunately not in an EFB / AFB area, think it pays to be very cautious when buying second hand equipment
 

Amari 

Drone Bee
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
1,842
Reaction score
390
Location
Suffolk
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
8
I'm reluctant to admit it after reading the above posts but: I use one hive tool (presumably Dani has seven!) and don't clean it or my gloves after each hive inspection in my main and two out-apiaries. I do not return extracted or stored supers to the original hive. I swap brood combs around as needed.
I've never had brood disease to my knowledge (the SBI examined all my hives last July after an outbreak of EFB 7 km away). I rarely have DWVirus but have had CBPVirus in two colonies.
I'm not boasting here - I salute the above posters' precautions. It's just not my personality - SWMBO is most reluctant to get into my Berlingo Beemobile because it's filthy, dirty and sticky and has never been cleaned.......

PS: I am reminded that Freud said that folk that are excessively clean and tidy conceal a hidden desire for dirt and disorder......
 

drex 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 4, 2009
Messages
2,893
Reaction score
350
Location
N.E. Essex
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
10
I too am a bit laid back with regard to cross infection. I work at an apiary level and only clean things after that one apiary. Frames get a disease inspection if they are going into a different colony on top of the routine twice yearly disease inspection
 

Newbeeneil 

Drone Bee
Joined
Jan 1, 2018
Messages
1,905
Reaction score
831
Location
Sussex
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
40 plus 25 that I maintain for clients.
I'm reluctant to admit it after reading the above posts but: I use one hive tool (presumably Dani has seven!) and don't clean it or my gloves after each hive inspection in my main and two out-apiaries. I do not return extracted or stored supers to the original hive. I swap brood combs around as needed.
I've never had brood disease to my knowledge (the SBI examined all my hives last July after an outbreak of EFB 7 km away). I rarely have DWVirus but have had CBPVirus in two colonies.
I'm not boasting here - I salute the above posters' precautions. It's just not my personality - SWMBO is most reluctant to get into my Berlingo Beemobile because it's filthy, dirty and sticky and has never been cleaned.......
SWMBO has a similar disregard for my Berlingo beevan for the same reason but because I maintain hives for several clients I do have separate smokers and hive tools stored at their apiaries and change gloves at each apiary.
I generally treat each apiary as a single entity and swap combs and bees between the hives as I'm sure that happens with drifting and drones.
When I extract I try to return the frames and super to the same apiaries.
 

BigAshW 

House Bee
Joined
Oct 29, 2013
Messages
262
Reaction score
125
Location
Romford
Hive Type
commercial
Number of Hives
5
I've only just got to the stage of having two apiaries.

I intend to leave a set of kit at each one.
 

Cuckmere couple 

Drone Bee
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
May 29, 2018
Messages
1,062
Reaction score
59
Location
East Sussex
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
9.5
interesting, thanks all

i bought a good number of a small hive tool i like and leave them with the hives....i change gloves between my two apiaries and move brood frames between hives within an apiary but rarely between...although one is an out apiary so clearly it receives splits and nucs from the other! I dont record which supers came from which hives or apiaries and currently these do get mixed (should probably change this)

appreciate the thoughts and suggestions
 

Cuckmere couple 

Drone Bee
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
May 29, 2018
Messages
1,062
Reaction score
59
Location
East Sussex
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
9.5
ps

i have a honey bucket full of washing soda too which i keep other hive tools in and generally use to wash gloved hands in etc
 

hemo 

Field Bee
Joined
Jun 2, 2009
Messages
879
Reaction score
445
Location
West Sussex /RH.
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
6-10
I use a separate tool for each colony, they are then placed in a solution at home. I wear an under glove and each colony has there own over gloves which might see two or three uses, these are kept under the roof.
All combs are sterilised from winter dead outs, summer ones haven't occurred.
Brood combs are transferred if d0ing splits as colonies are from the same hIve.
Unused stores are saved/treated to use on colonies that need supplementary feeding at any time of the year.
 
Last edited:

GuyNir 

Field Bee
Joined
Sep 17, 2017
Messages
808
Reaction score
263
Location
Dumfries and Galloway
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
10-15
I was quite laid back also, until the discovery of EFB last year, which affected 6 colonies In my home apiary.
What a wake up call that was.
All clear since Aug last year. Needless to say the disruption that caused last year was enormous.
Since then, disinfecting my gloves/hive tool/smoker between each hive, checking the combs much better (joining the SBI 3 times meant I know much better what to look for) and overall much more strict regime.
 

Amari 

Drone Bee
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
1,842
Reaction score
390
Location
Suffolk
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
8
Yes, having said in post 8 above that I've never had foul brood, I do recognise that that means no experience = risk of missing it.
 

pargyle 

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Oct 16, 2012
Messages
12,588
Reaction score
2,652
Location
Fareham, Hampshire UK
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
6
Hmmm .... I keep a set of hive tools, smoker and gloves for my home apiary hives .. I have a complete separate set of kit and tools for another set of hives that I look after for someone else. I swap frames and supers between hives but I don't normally swap between apiaries. I donated a frame of eggs and brood from my home apiary last year to a colony at the other apiary where I suspected (rightly) that there was a queenless colony but I would not swap kit into my bees from elsewhere.

I inspect for disease and I know what to look for - whilst I have never had any of the foul broods (or other disease) in my hives at the first notion - not even sign - of anything I would lock everything down and go to a strict cleaning regime between hives.

I do have a bucket of washing soda solution when I do inspections and I wash my latex gloves and hive tools between hives (alhough, to be honest, this is as much to clean the propolis and honey off as it is for hygiene reasons).

It's obviously good practice to try and keep separation between colonies but I am sufficiently pragmatic to recognise that it is not always possible and I think that the likelihood of me spreading disease between, or introducing disease into, my colonies is less than my colonies being infected by bee to bee contact.

Separation between apiaries is very good practice and is a no-brainer as far as I'm concerned. Between colonies in a particular apiary - not so crucial unless there is evidence of disease.
 

Curly green finger's 

Queen Bee
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
Messages
3,007
Reaction score
1,251
Location
Titterstone clee South Shropshire
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
Over 20
SWMBO has a similar disregard for my Berlingo beevan for the same reason but because I maintain hives for several clients I do have separate smokers and hive tools stored at their apiaries and change gloves at each apiary.
I generally treat each apiary as a single entity and swap combs and bees between the hives as I'm sure that happens with drifting and drones.
When I extract I try to return the frames and super to the same apiaries.
 
Last edited:

rolande 

Field Bee
Joined
Oct 26, 2009
Messages
598
Reaction score
277
Hive Type
dadant
The number of times I've read advice to beginners on this forum as well as elsewhere that the ability to borrow a frame of brood from a friend is a good reason to start with national hives.... I can think of one or two good reasons to start a hobby apiary with nationals but that ain't one of them and yet it appears to be well accepted advice. Strange world.
 

Erichalfbee 

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
21,523
Reaction score
3,262
Location
Ceredigion
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
7
I'm reluctant to admit it after reading the above posts but: I use one hive tool (presumably Dani has seven!)
I do.....and more
I like those little hive tools that fit into a pocket. They get a hot wash at home after inspections
 
Top