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New Bee
Jul 25, 2009
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Shropshire (UK)
Hive Type
Number of Hives
Hi folks I'm a beginner at this - both beekeeping & forums so sorry if I cock it up(can I say that?:boxing_smiley:)

I bought a nuc in May from a fellow member of L&DBK of not - I found out later - crystal clear reputation when it comes to the breeding & sale of bees:( We built a Langstroth but the nuc came on national frames, could not be cut down & so we had to borrow a brood box from the breeder (I would not have minded so much if I'd had a blowtorch to scorch it first!!

I fed them for a week as the weather was good they went on to forage and grew in numbers as expected. The Queen was supposed to be 5 - 6 wks old at time of delivery.

About 4 wks ago I had a gut feeling that something was wrong - couldn't find the Queen (put it down to the workers covering her as now so many) but everthing else seemed in good order - the usual checks for plenty of food,space etc. I was determined to find the Queen on the next check!

The weather changed to wet so I fed the bees syrup but could not check again until 6 days ago. I looked in and found dead brood at the emerging stages and the number of bees in general had dropped dramatically:confused: I called out the member that I bought the nuc from to come & check the hive - gut instinct told me something was very wrong indeed. Following inspection his prognosis was that they had re-queened - why? She was viableand laying well. And that I had to wait 5 days and check for capped worker brood - The 5th day was yesterday.

I looked in and to my UTTER HORROR!!! I had to remove 3 frames (2 were of his which the nuc came on & 1 of mine - this years fresh foundation) The nuc came on really dark brown comb that looked a few years old & I was not best pleased but he fobbed me off with "black comb is ok if you know the history of the comb" and being new I swallowed it - well you would.

The 3 frames were removed - all others were fine, Queen found etc. He said that it could simply be that the Queens laying drones and they are being ignored - left to die, then being removed but as for the condition of the frames he said he'd never seen it before and is not ruling out EFB:toetap05:

The best case senario for me is another Queen + 2 frames of brood which still wont get the colony to size for winter as the seasons so late:( This cannot be done until DEFRA check my hive and rule out disease! I have left answer phone msgs for the seasonal & regional inspectors but have had no reply.

To add to the joy of this I rent a farmhouse and my landlord has 4 - 5 strong colonies that could now be in danger aswell!!

All my equipment was new! The only 2nd hand stuff was the frames the nuc came on and the breeders brood box I had to use! I would like to know that if it is EFB and I obviously hope not - does it go back to the breeder ??

Please help!! I have been beside myself with worry over this since 7pm yesterday - absolutely sobbing - I kid you not and I am not a cryer by any means:ack2::ack2: Also, I live in Shropshire and would like contact from any other keepers in the area - not that I don't want contact from the rest of you:grouphug:

Take care y'all & good luck for the rest of the season!!
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If the Queen was not fully mated and is now failing then she could well be laying infertile eggs in worker cells,which the bee's tend to neglect,giving the appearance of efb,but the larvae will be of all different ages.Some colonys will draw out the cells further,which gives an obvious bumpy brood patern,but not all colonys do this,some just neglect the infertile larvae.If they have superceded,you could have a queen that never mated,just fed up and started to lay.
Not much wrong with dark brown combs,as long as they are sound and do not contain large area's of drone cells,new comb does not stay white for long. Still you need to get them looked at by someone with experiance. Still time to get them sorted for winter,if not efb.

Welcome to this forum.
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Take deep breaths and get a stiff drink. I'm sure the bee inspector will be able to put your mind at rest. Plenty of time to get em sorted before winter.


PS welcome to the trials and tribulations of beekeeping.
I believe the local inspector is away on holiday as I am waiting for him to inspect me.

In general old comb is fine.

There may be a perfectly reasonable explanation for what you are seeing. It may well be chilled brood and that looks very like EFB.

Hopefully there will be some one close you can call on to give you some reassurance. Try the sec of the Association.

Thank you ALL for your great advice -especially the deep breaths & stiff drink option - cheers Dave;-) Yeah Charles is on holiday, I rang Dave Sutton & he's coming out Mon @10am. I've just checked my insurance with Andy incase. It could also just be the new Q's laying drones & they're being ingored - or as one of you rightly pointed out she didn't mate.

There are brood at different stages on these 3 frames I removed from about 4 day old to emerging stage but all dead.

It's mad - one day I'm looking at their lovely little furry faces poking out & getting stomped on by their sisters ;-) The next time they are dead like chalk brood. Chilled brood was ruled out by Hamish (another member) so we'll just have to wait till Monday.

I live in Richards Castle nr Ludlow so if it is EFB and any of you have bees in the area or you know of anyone who has - BEWARE :-(

Thanks again - I hope this goes on as a general msg to thank you all - will someone please tell me coz I don't want those who don't get it to think I'm an ungrateful so and so!

Take care and good luck
You could not rule out some kind of poisoning leading to a lack of bees to cover the brood.
Was it the same queen you got with the nuc or definitely a new one?
Why are you thinking EFB?
What did the cells look like?
Why have you ruled out chilled brood? Could the hive have swarmed and left insufficient bees to cover the brood?
It sounds like there was a 3 week gap between inspections so it might be difficult to establish when things started to go wrong.
I very much doubt that any type of foulbrood disease could have developed so quickly in a colony which was fine a few weeks ago.

And as a PS
You say you were feeding syrup and your landlord has a few strong colonies.
Could it be possible that the stronger colonies robbed yours and killed a lot of bees?
I find that feeding syrup to a small colony in a period of bad weather can lead to trouble unless the entrance is reduced to about 10mm.
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