Healthy bees are not only a factor that certainly contributes to the emergence of a large amount of quality honey, but also a guarantee for the beekeeper’s peace of mind. He definitely needs to know if the bee family is sick, and what to do in cases where little toilers are sick.
Bee infectious diseases
Non-communicable diseases arise as a result of violation of the living conditions necessary for bees. Improper feeding, mistakes in keeping and breeding - all this can lead to diseases. However, as soon as the cause of the disease is eliminated, the bees will recover.
The essence and reason: poisoning of bee-nurse with flower pollen of poisonous plants (wrestler, rosemary, hellebore, larkspur, etc.).
- recently fed bees die quickly;
- bloated abdomen;
- the intestines of dead bees are full of rich ocher-yellow contents;
- bees creeping out of the hive fall to the ground and die;
- most often observed in May, sometimes in June and July.
- remove recent pollen from the hive;
- install perigee frames into the hive;
- give bees sugar syrup for a couple of days.
- check the habitat of bees for the presence of poisonous plants;
- if a plant is found, destroy or isolate the bees.
The essence and reason: poisoning of bees with the floral nectar of poisonous plants (fighter, ledum, hellebore, larkspur, etc.).
- in feed there is an accumulation of a large amount of poison, causing toxicosis for two to three weeks;
- the mass death of not only the queens, but both the brood and the whole family;
- most often, the disease occurs in May and June.
Treatment: replace honeycombs with fresh honey with honeycombs with liquid sugar syrup.
- nearby apiaries to sow honey plants so that their flowering time coincides with the flowering time of poisonous plants;
- change the place of the apiary;
- completely eliminate poisonous vegetation.
The essence and reason: poisoning with mineral fertilizers used in the fields for foliar feeding of plants, as well as directly with pesticides.
- poisoned bees become more aggressive;
- can suddenly die both at the assembly and in the hive;
- bee families eating fodder with the remnants of poison make noise, quickly weaken;
- the course of other diseases is stronger than usual.
Treatment: replace honeycombs with fresh honey (or recently brought pollen) with honeycombs with liquid sugar syrup.
- a plan for processing the area with pesticides and fertilizers previously developed and agreed with the district administration;
- to arrange for bees access to honey plants so that the period of their collection is not later than the date of treatment with chemicals;
- if there is no possibility of coordination, take the bees out of the danger zone to a distance of 5 or more kilometers;
- if there is no such possibility, the bees must be isolated from the danger zone, not allowing them to leave the hive, and fed sugar during the action of the chemicals.
Fall bee toxicosis
The essence and reason: poisoning of bees with carrion.
- the most obvious sign of the disease, especially in winter, is severe diarrhea;
- the disease is characteristic of arid regions and regions surrounded by forests;
- in sick bees, the intestines become dark in color: from brown to almost black;
- severe poisoning is accompanied by massive (if not complete) family death in the second half of winter.
- feed the bees with liquid sugar syrup;
- drink melt water;
- expose bee families as early as possible.
- before wintering, replace part of the feed honey with sugar at the rate of 6-10 kg per family of bees;
- Replace honey with benign honey.
Additionally, read the detailed article about bee poisoning .
The essence and reason: metabolic disorder in bees as a result of lack of feed or their inferiority.
Signs: unexplained exhaustion and death of both bees and the whole brood.
Treatment: if the bees are starving, they must be fed both in summer and in winter. Fit:
- sugar syrup;
- honey sugar dough;
- bee bread or its substitutes.
Prevention: to provide bees with a good forage base, strictly observe feeding hygiene.
The main thing in the fight against non-communicable bee diseases is vigilance and quick reaction. The faster the cause and consequences of the disease are eliminated, the more bees will survive.
The essence and reason: the mass death of bees as a result of prolonged exposure to high humidity and temperature.
- the death of a significant part or all of the bees in a steaming family;
- the course of the disease is accompanied by strong excitement and increased aggression;
- in the nest, temperature and humidity are growing rapidly, as a result of which the wax in the combs becomes soft and supple;
- over time, the honeycomb and brood honeycombs break off;
- the bees themselves become wet and black, quickly die;
- from the hive comes a strong noise of bees, which eventually subsides completely;
- slots and holes are completely clogged with black bees.
- urgently open the hives and give the bees the opportunity to fly freely;
- dead bees, leaked honey and ragged honeycombs to remove;
- the remaining families, if there are queens, should be reinforced with printed brood at the exit or combined.
- provide additional free space (for example, empty stores), auxiliary through ventilation;
- protect the hive from penetrating into direct sunlight;
- with temporary isolation in the hives must give water.
Bee Infectious Diseases
Along with non-infectious diseases of bees, there is an extensive list of common infectious bee diseases - such that can be transmitted from one individual to another.
The essence and reason: the disease of bee and drone brood caused by a fungus, the spores of which are often on the flowers.
- the disease is characterized by the presence of altered cells and larvae;
- holes have been gnawed in cells with dead larvae;
- some honeycombs may be coated with mold;
- white larvae destroyed by the fungus resemble lime;
- most often, the disease makes itself felt in the spring and summer.
Treatment. The detection of calcareous brood requires a set of measures:
- drive the bee family into a clean hive;
- disinfect victims;
- apply chemical and herbal remedies (Nystatin, Ascocin, Polysot, etc.), adding them to bee feed.
- hives should be placed in a dry, sunny place;
- prevent thick and tall grass around and near the hive;
- regularly clean garbage around the hive, especially dead larvae thrown out by bees;
- periodically carry out the renewal of cellular facilities - there should not be black, old cells;
- to provide a sufficient level of ventilation in the hives and winter houses;
- in the fall, feed with medicinal herbal (chemical) preparations aimed at the prevention of fungus;
- Do not use cotton wool as a hive insulation.
The essence and reason: another disease of bees caused by a fungus, but this time affecting both brood and adult individuals.
- mold of white (gray) color covers pupae and larvae;
- wrinkling and hardening of the affected brood;
- color change occurs: from unhealthy yellow to black;
- dry larvae eventually become hard dark lumps resembling stones;
- adult bees affected by the fungus become agitated, move a lot, exhibit aggression;
- at a progressive stage, diseased adults fall dead to the bottom of the hive, and shaggy mold of dark green color breaks out of their corpses.
Treatment. There are no ways to deal with this disease of bees. However, after detection of infection by a fungus, a number of measures should be taken aimed at preventing further infection:
- the honeycombs affected by the fungus must be burned urgently;
- hives, where there were sick families, treated first with high temperature, and then with a disinfectant raster;
- in no case should the honey and honey from sick families be used both for feeding bees and for human food.
Prevention: take the same measures as in the previous case.
The essence and reason: the disease of working bees, drones and queens, also known as salmonellosis, is accompanied by digestive disorders, diarrhea, fraught with the death of individuals of the bee family in large quantities.
- lethargy of bees;
- an increase in the abdomen;
- paralysis of the legs and wings;
- feces of a dark brown color, sticky liquid consistency, with putrid odor;
- in the nest on the combs an abundance of feces;
- at the bottom of the hive - death;
- bee families are weakened.
- transplant sick bee colonies into clean, sterile hives;
- nests to reduce and insulate;
- give therapeutic feeding to both sick and healthy families for prevention;
- antibiotics (synthomycin, chloramphenicol, streptomycin, etc.) must be added to the syrup, calculating the dose per 1 liter of feeding;
- weak families eliminate.
- proper maintenance and proper feeding of bees is the basis of preventive measures to protect against salmonellosis;
- when preparing bees for wintering, replace low-quality honey with sugar;
- in order to prevent the introduction of paratyphoid bacteria into the hive, apiaries should be located away from reservoirs with sewage, contaminated ponds, stockyards.
The essence and reason: an infectious disease of bee colonies, proceeding in the form of chronic and acute paralysis.
- on a flying board, the bees behave aggressively - they are hostile to almost every flying bee;
- Bees show a tendency to pull out black bees that are not being launched back onto the flight board;
- The "exiles" first shake, and then die right next to the hive, where you can find many dead black bees, and their number is constantly replenished.
- disinfect the infected hive by relocating the bees to another sterile one;
- give sanapin to bees in doses prescribed by the veterinarian.
- set individual drinkers;
- reduce the degree of infection with the tick of varroa - the tick is a carrier of the disease;
- conduct timely culling of cells that have served for a long time;
- regular disinfection of the hive and equipment;
- prevent the emergence of thief bees;
- use antiviral drugs for prophylactic purposes as prescribed by the veterinarian.
Regardless of the type of infectious disease, when the family is sick, it is imperative to consult a veterinarian who can choose the right drugs.
Read more about viral paralysis in bees here .
The essence and reason. Sick bees spread the infection and bacteria, but symptoms may not appear in the initial stages. High humidity in the winter house, poor quality food, wetlands are prerequisites for the development of the disease.
- spring and autumn - peaks of the onset of the disease;
- during the wintering period the bees are restless;
- often there is diarrhea;
- the family weakens or dies even before the winter hive exhibit;
- in spring in the hive there are a lot of weakened bees with a large abdomen;
- weak bees initially barely move, but soon stop moving completely;
- hemolymph of patients - cloudy;
- during the preparation, the bees scatter into parts, their muscles are brown or black.
- apply biomycin or tetracycline at the dose prescribed by the veterinarian;
- drive a sick family into a dry, disinfected hive with good insulation.
- keep families strong, in well-insulated nests;
- make sure that in the winteries the air humidity does not increase.
The essence and reason: an open brood disease that affects larvae under the age of one week, sometimes printed brood. Called by one or more types of bacteria.
- diseased larvae have increased mobility;
- the cover becomes transparent and yellowish;
- at the bottom of the cells you can find a yellow-brown mass of test texture from dead larvae;
- the course of the disease is sometimes accompanied by a sour smell;
- a severe degree of brood damage leads to the manifestation of European decay in adult individuals - they become lethargic, weakly active and wear out quickly.
- remove the cells with affected brood from sick families and eliminate;
- nests to reduce and insulate;
- weak, sick families to combine 2-3 and feed with syrup with the prescribed drug - Norsulfazole sodium, Sanazin, Streptomycin, etc .;
- replace the uterus with healthy fetal;
- bee families with a neglected form of the disease, detected during the period of honey collection, overtake by the method of Prokopovich.
- keep strong bee families in the apiary;
- to provide families with good bribes in the summer and a sufficient amount of benign feed for the winter;
- use in families of highly productive healthy queens;
- control and prevent infection when buying bee packages;
- prevent the bees from feeding honey of unknown origin and using non-sterile equipment from other apiaries;
- use wax only from reliable certified manufacturers;
- constantly comply with the sanitary and hygienic rules for keeping bees;
- replace annually 30% and older dark combs with rebuilt ones;
- prevent families from overheating;
- prevent closely related breeding of bees.
Find out more about bees foulbrood here .
The essence, cause and preventive measures of the American foulbrood are identical to the European. The differences are only in the accompanying symptoms and the drugs prescribed by the veterinarian.
- the appearance of holes and indentation of wax caps;
- viscous consistency of decomposed larvae;
- putrefactive odor in the hive;
- the bees are almost inactive, lethargic, wear out quickly;
- the growth of young bees sharply decreases, soon disappearing completely;
- sick families die en masse in late summer or fall.
Invasive Bee Disease
Invasive bee diseases are caused by parasites that bees can encounter in their path. In addition, the thief bee can bring uninvited guests.
The essence and reason: varroatosis of bees and printed brood, caused by a tick and characterized by severe anxiety of bees, impaired development and death of pupae.
- family loss of strength;
- ugly bees appear from the larvae - wings, abdomen or limbs have an irregular shape;
- the life cycle of bees is reduced;
- working ability reduced;
- some bees do not participate in honey collection.
- eliminate suspiciously behaving bees;
- give medications (Folbeks, formic acid, Varroatin, etc.) prescribed by the veterinarian.
- apply various medicinal plants and essential oils as a tick prevention;
- periodically change the means used for prophylaxis, since over time the tick develops immunity, and the bees are again in danger.
The essence of the reason: the disease of bee colonies, in which on the abdomen and on the back between the wings of bees and queen bees settle bee lice.
- bee families are weakening;
- anxiety of bees is felt;
- uterine egg production decreases;
- on the abdomen or on the back you can see braul.
- bee families treated with phenothiazine before the main bribe;
- to process families 3 days in a row;
- repeat the treatment every 10 days until the bees recover completely.
- prevent tick entry from dysfunctional apiaries located nearby;
- improve the sanitary condition of bee colonies;
- carry out quarantine measures for already sick families in order to prevent healthy diseases.
The essence and reason: nosematosis in adults, caused by nozema spores.
- with the approach of spring, the beekeeper notices the anxiety of the bees;
- families are weakening; their death is observed;
- after the exhibition, the bees are sluggish from the winter hut, do not stay on the combs and fall to the bottom of the hive;
- the bee’s abdomen is enlarged;
- sometimes fluttering of the wings;
- honeycombs, hives in sick families are stained with feces, in some families the uterus dies.
- after an exhibition, transfer sick families from a winter hut to sterile hives and honeycombs or to free cells from healthy families;
- from the old nest, transfer only brood honeycombs, previously cleaned of traces of feces;
- for treatment, use Fumagillin DCG in accordance with the attached instructions;
- disinfect honeycombs and beehives in pairs of acetic acid;
- between racks to lay rags with acetic acid.
- create favorable conditions for wintering bees;
- to leave exclusively strong families for the winter;
- provide wintering with benign honey;
- in the spring to exhibit bees from the winter hut as early as possible - with the first warm sunny days;
- disinfect honeycombs and hives in a timely manner.
The essence and reason: a disease of bees that affects the malpigium vessels of adults, the causative agent of which is a parasite - amoeba.
The signs, treatment and prevention of this disease are identical to nosematosis. The only difference is that for preventive purposes, the hives should be installed in dry places, and there should be increased attention to humidity around and inside the hive.
The essence and reason: acarapidosis is another bee disease caused by a tick, but this time it affects the respiratory organs of adults.
- in spring, when trying to rise in the air, sick bees fall to the ground;
- sometimes the bees sit motionless on the arrival board;
- seriously ill bees crawl on the ground with wings spread out, as if sprained (the so-called disclosure);
- in the summer, it remains noticeable that affected families become unproductive, poorly developed, and weaken;
- the death of bee families;
- in winter, acarapidosis manifests itself in the form of anxiety of bees;
- at the bottom of the hive accumulates a large amount of death;
- on the wintering floor there are many dead bees;
- in wintering bees, the disease is accompanied by diarrhea;
- death of bee families during the wintering season is observed.
- before treatment, remove the two extreme aft frames from the nest, forming a free space of 10 cm between the insertion board and the extreme frame;
- on top of the frames, additionally put paper folded into several layers;
- tightly close the upper notch;
- cover the hive cracks with clay or glue with paper;
- treatment of families should be carried out in the evening after the return of flying bees using the Volbeks aerosol.
- export of bee families and queens from the farm (apiary) is prohibited;
- limit the movement of bees - the collection distance should not exceed 7 kilometers from a safe apiary.
How to determine family health?
Only a regular inspection of bee nests will correctly determine whether the family is healthy. A competent beekeeper can determine health by signs:
- the correct proportion of adults and offspring;
- feed inventory level;
- the quality of the uterus;
- the employment of the framework indicates the strength of the nest.
There is a list of signals indicating family health problems:
- fragility of dead bodies;
- the presence of holes on the abdomen of bees;
- brood thrown out near hives in large quantities;
- the abdomen swelled in insects;
- unnaturally twisted wings;
- the bees stray into heaps, tremble;
- aggression unusual for the breed appeared;
- insect life has been reduced.
All these factors give the beekeeper a reason to seek help from a veterinarian to make sure that everything is in order with the health of the family.
Despite the great informativeness of a home examination, only laboratory diagnostics can provide the most accurate data. It is necessary in cases:
- In the spring. It is imperative to collect samples of death in several hives, and then send them for analysis. The results of the study should subsequently be entered in the apiary passport.
- During the active period. If the beekeeper began to detect large clusters of dead insects both in the hive and beyond, you need to collect the corpses of bees and send them for examination to prevent the development and spread of infectious and invasive diseases.
Every day, bees are in danger in the form of a wide variety of diseases. However, with due attention, speed of reaction, proper treatment and strict adherence to preventive measures, any beekeeper can be calm about the health of families.