This section has been created with the beekeeper in mind and is currently under construction.  It focuses on bee diseases and parasites.  The goal is to make it easy for you, the beekeeper, to find the necessary diagnostic information to make an informed decision on what may be affecting the health of your hive.  This is a basic guide only.  There is a boatload of information out on the web.  You will need to assess the data and make the best management decision you can with that data.  Research, decide, act and evaluate.

Brood Diseases:

American Foulbrood (AFB)

American Foulbrood is probably the most feared of all bee diseases.  American Foulbrood is highly contagious and is spread through the use of contaminated equipment and through robbing of the diseased hive by other bees.  It is caused by the Bacillus larvae bacteria.  The bacteria feeds on the larva and kills them in their pre-pupal and pupal stages.  American Foulbrood has a distinct odor.  Most beekeepers will notice the odor before they will notice the rest of the symptoms.

Here is a link to the USDA/ARS Bee site:  Here is a short youtube video on determining if you have American Foulbrood in your hive:  Not into videos?  Here is a nice .pdf.  And another.

If you have confirmed that you have American Foulbrood, the classic recommendation has been to burn the hive, bees and all, to prevent further transmission to other healthy colonies.  There are other options, however.   Here are some videos and links to American Foulbrood treatments.

Both European and American Foulbrood Treatment Options by Jamie Ellis, University of Florida

Chemical Treatment Options by Dr. Eric Mussen, UC Davis

Moving an Infected Colony to Eliminate AFB by Tim Schuler, NJ Department of Agriculture

European Foulbrood (EFB)

European Foulbrood is less virulent than American Foulbrood as EFB does not create spores and spores can last for decades!  It, too, is caused by a bacteria, Melissococcus pluton, but it only affects young, uncapped larva and, as a result, is quite a bit easier to diagnose.  Instead of the brood being pearly white and glistening, the brood is discolored and dry-looking.  As you may expect, there is an odor associated with EFB also.  Here is a diagnostic video from Dr. Jamie Ellis of the University of Florida.  Here is a link to some diagnostic images for reference.

Chemical treatment of EFB is the same as AFB.  Chemical Treatment Options by Dr. Eric Mussen, UC Davis

Requeening is generally helpful also.


Chalkbrood is a brood disease caused by a fungus, Ascophaera apis.  Chalkbrood produces bee larva “mummies” which you can see on the bottom board of a colony.  These mummies are whitish in color resembling pieces of chalk which is how it acquired its name.  Here is a picture of a heavy infestation of chalkbrood.  Typically, in CO, chalkbrood is seen in the spring.  It is rarely fatal.  A colony entering into spring will generally “fix” the problem by merely growing and heading into larger populations for summer.  The most common “treatment” is to requeen.

There are more brood diseases out there than these three–but these represent the most common diseases found here.

Adult Issues:

Varroa Mite (Varroa destructor)

It is hard to imagine beekeeping before Varroa but a mere 30 years ago, this was the case!  Varroa destructor is aptly named and is the cause of a tremendous percentage of colony losses annually.  Here is a link to a PDG (pretty darn good) description of Varroa from, not surprisingly, the University of Florida.  Oh, if only we had this type of support from our universities here in Colorado! Too busy working on wheat, I guess.

There are a lot of different ways to manage Varroa.  You can manage it with in-hive miticides or you can manage it with non-chemical alternatives or any combination in between.  No matter what treatment method you use, you need to know whether you need to treat at all first.  There are 2 methods of determining the Varroa load in your bee hive:  alcohol wash and powdered sugar roll.






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Upcoming Events

5:30 pm SouthEast Beekeepers Club @ North Pinery Firehouse
SouthEast Beekeepers Club @ North Pinery Firehouse
Mar 3 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
We’re looking forward to a crowd again – but this time YOU all are our speakers.  Please come and bring observations about your hives/bees, questions that we can share and maybe answer, news about what’s[...]
6:00 pm Thinking about beekeeping?
Thinking about beekeeping?
Mar 4 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Come spend an hour with us to learn about beekeeping. What time of year to start, expectations, costs involved and how beekeeping can be a lifetime hobby, joining a club, taking classes to help understand[...]
7:00 pm Boulder County Beekeepers Meeting @ Lefthand Grange
Boulder County Beekeepers Meeting @ Lefthand Grange
Mar 4 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Hello beekeepers!   Just a quick reminder of the Feb. meeting of the Boulder County Beekeepers Association, this Wednesday @ 7pm in Niwot at the Lefthand Grange. Bring treats and any “buggy” friends. Peace, Miles
6:00 pm Spring Splitting your Hives
Spring Splitting your Hives
Mar 5 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
April is the time of year for splits as the first calls for swarms start coming around April 10th. This class focus is judging your hive for the right time to split. Splitting with or[...]
6:30 pm Beginning Beekeeping Classes, Pa... @ Community Center
Beginning Beekeeping Classes, Pa... @ Community Center
Mar 5 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Beginning Beekeeping Classes, Pagosa Springs, Community Center, Hot Springs Boulevard. Feb. 26th, March 5th and 12th, all Thursdays, 6:30-8:30 PM.
6:00 pm Bee Photography Event @ Visions West Contemporary
Bee Photography Event @ Visions West Contemporary
Mar 6 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
“POLLINATION” Opening reception March 6th, 2015 6pm March 6th-April 9th   Fifty-five thousand miles flown per one pound of honey. Queens, workers and drones. Colorado farmer and photographer, John Hamilton, gets in the mind of[...]
8:00 am Pikes Peak Beekeepers Associatio... @ Mountain Song Community School
Pikes Peak Beekeepers Associatio... @ Mountain Song Community School
Mar 7 @ 8:00 am – Mar 8 @ 4:30 pm
This day and a half comprehensive course covers all aspects of beekeeping in the Pikes Peak region. You will learn how to acquire bees and the necessary equipment to keep them. We will demonstrate equipment[...]
9:00 am Class I: Introduction to Top Bar... @ Growing Gardens Greenhouse
Class I: Introduction to Top Bar... @ Growing Gardens Greenhouse
Mar 7 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
This class will cover expectations and an introduction to keeping bees in your back yard. We will have an opportunity to meet our fellow beekeepers. There will be a demonstration hive available for inspection and[...]
9:00 am Hands-On Beekeeping Series @ Growing Gardens Greenhouse
Hands-On Beekeeping Series @ Growing Gardens Greenhouse
Mar 7 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Come join us for a hands-on series of 8 classes that will support you through the beekeeping season from March to October. Location: Classes are held at the Growing Gardens Greenhouse 1630 Hawthorn Ave Boulder,[...]
10:00 am Introduction to Beekeeping
Introduction to Beekeeping
Mar 7 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
This class focuses on starting a beehive in April with a bee package or nuc. Preparing your equipment where to place your hive. What to expect when getting started. Classes At Wardle Feed Saturday Mornings[...]

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