Nosema ?

I noticed the other day some evidence of a light Nosema problem in one of my hives.  You’ll see in the photo there is some brown speckling on the outside of the hive, which  is one indication.  Nosema is a fungus that causes the bees to have something similar to a stomach ache.  They won’t eat as much, they can’t process pollen properly and generally don’t do as well.  The only way to know for sure is to have a bees gut analyzed, but according to a 2005 study by Virginia Tech, around 50% of the hives in Virginia had Nosema when tested.

Luckily it is treatable, with an antibiotic, Fumagilin-B, which is widely available through any beekeeping company.  I happened to have some so I mixed up a half gallon according to the directions and gave the medicated syrup to the colony.  It so happens this was one of the overwintered nucs, so there are only 5 frames of bees.  A larger hive would require a full gallon of medicated syrup.  I also went to the trouble to mix in a bit of Honey B Healthy, as that is supposed to help and also make the syrup more attractive.  According to some online research I did spraying the bees directly with the medicated syrup seems to be effective, so I went the extra mile and did that as well.  The theory is that they will clean the syrup off each other and get the medication even if they aren’t actively feeding from the feeder.  Makes sense, but seems like the dosage would be very small.  I’ll let you know if I see an improvement.

I'm fairly sure the stained front entrance you see here is a result of Nosema.

On a brighter note I moved two of my overwintered Nucs into 10 frame hive bodies as they are doing well, and I anticipate them growing rapidly now.  While I was moving them I snapped a couple of photos of the queens.  You’ll see a white dot on their thorax, which I placed there last year.  These are two of the queens I raised in August 2011.  They came from different lineage, which explains why they look a little different.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Jeannie on March 11, 2012 at 2:03 am

    Never thought about a honey bee having a stomach ache…enjoying your blog. Maybe I will learn a few things.


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