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

6:30 pm SouthEast Beekeepers Club Monthl... @ North Pinery Firehouse
SouthEast Beekeepers Club Monthl... @ North Pinery Firehouse
Aug 5 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
The SouthEast Beekeepers Club is a fairly unstructured group of beekeeping people who get together once a month to share information, ask questions, get news, etc. Other than having a pot luck prior to and[...]
7:00 pm Boulder County Beekeepers Meeting @ Lefthand Grange
Boulder County Beekeepers Meeting @ Lefthand Grange
Aug 5 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
BCBA meeting and election scheduled for this Wednesday, April 22nd at 7:00 pm at the Niwot Grange. Our organization has been without meaningful leadership since Miles McGaughey stepped down last year. Philip Bradbury and Tim[...]
Aug 8 @ 9:30 am – 11:00 am
Ages: 16 and up This is a continuation of Beekeeping 101. Learn tips on how to keep your bees happy, as they are gentle by nature. A variety of topics include brood patterns, pests, fall[...]
4:00 pm Bee Safe Boulder Celebration Fun...
Bee Safe Boulder Celebration Fun...
Aug 8 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Come and celebrate Boulder becoming a Bee Safe City!! Join us and celebrate Boulder becoming a Bee-Safe City, at a beautiful home in west Boulder, in a shady Boulder landscape with a lovely stream and[...]
6:30 pm Central Colorado Beekeepers Meeting @ Crest Academy
Central Colorado Beekeepers Meeting @ Crest Academy
Aug 10 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
We meet the 2nd Monday of each month at 6:30 at 12th & G Street at Crest Academy, Salida, Co 81201. See our Facebook group: Central Colorado Beekeepers Association. Ask to join. Thanks and hope[...]
7:00 pm Mile Hive Bee Club @ Project Angel Heart
Mile Hive Bee Club @ Project Angel Heart
Aug 11 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Mile Hive Bee Club now meets on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. Read more here:
5:30 pm Advanced Topics in Beekeeping @ The Hudson Gardens & Event Center
Advanced Topics in Beekeeping @ The Hudson Gardens & Event Center
Aug 12 @ 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
What pests and diseases do beekeepers need to worry about in Colorado? Why, how, and when should I make a split? Is a combine the right solution for my weak hives? Learn the answers to[...]
6:30 pm Brighton Beekeepers Monthly Meeting @ United Power HQ
Brighton Beekeepers Monthly Meeting @ United Power HQ
Aug 12 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
This month’s meeting will be held at the United Power Building on March 11th at 6:30pm. Miles McGaughey will be our guest speaker and will be covering topics relevant to this time of year. Other[...]
7:00 pm Natural Top Bar Beekeeping
Natural Top Bar Beekeeping
Aug 14 @ 7:00 pm – Aug 16 @ 7:00 pm
Resilient Futures International, will be hosting a beekeeping workshop August 14-16th. The details can be found on the following Facebook link and below: Please join us for a weekend of exploration and education about[...]
6:00 pm 4 Corners Beekeeping Club Monthl... @ Florida Baptist Church near Elmore's store.
4 Corners Beekeeping Club Monthl... @ Florida Baptist Church near Elmore's store.
Aug 17 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
[We meet every 3rd Monday except for November and December] This is your last minute reminder about the club meeting this Monday evening, May 18th, at the Florida Baptist Church at 6 PM. Our new[...]

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