Chalkbrood

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Dansar

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Chatting with beekeepers and also read on this forum that higher incidences if chalkbrood this season.
It started showing up more so for me last season and I just put it down to wet season and not a lot of good natural nectar flows occurred.
However that same has continued this year even in hives that have been requeened. I’ve pulled in queens from various reputable sources and it has improved but not to my satisfaction. Frustrating…..

Any other old beekeeping tricks to deal with it.
It’s even showing in brand new gear. Frames, boxes so I can’t solely it down to spore contamination.
 

Alastair

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Yup, seeing chalk brood all over the place this season. In my hives and in others hives.

Wish I knew why, or the solution, but I don't.
 
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frazzledfozzle

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Chalk brood is spread by bees robbing, drifting, it’s spread on flowers where infected bees have been foraging and even water sources and the soil around an infected hive So using new gear won’t necessarily fix the problem.

you can breed queens to be more resistant to chalk brood Which helps but won’t cure the problem.
We hardly Ever have chalk brood if we do the hive is requeened.

A lot of beekeepers blame the queen for chalk brood but although the queen may be more susceptible they aren’t the actual cause of the problem.
 
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here it was never much of a problem. i'll have to ask the lads if they have seen any in our hives recently. but no ones mentioned it so far.

my understanding is that the bees became resistant to it, ie there is a genetic part to it. hence the "its a queen problem" and why requeening often fixes it.
but why it would happen to different strains of queens, i have no idea.
my only guess is that the bees are adapting to varroa and the virus that comes with it, and are starting to lose a trait. however thats just wild speculation.
 
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Climate absolutely has an important part to play in just how much chalk brood you get but genetics are also important. When we first got chalk brood it was rampant and I do not believe that any hives in New Zealand are free of the spores. Selective breeding solved most of our problems but we had some marginal spring sites that we had to start shifting out for the winter\spring. The last couple of years it has become rampant again and I think the shocking weather has had some effect but I also wonder just how much effect poor breeder selection is having. Certainly round here the temperament of the bees is not as good as it was 10 years ago and I suspect a lot of beekeepers are just not doing proper selection for desirable traits .
If you have a major problem with chalkbrood then it can help to get new queens but get them from someone in a Climatic area where chalk brood is really bad and resistance has really been selected for.
I have heard anecdotally that lemon skins help with the problem and would be interested if anyone has any knowledge of if it works and how much.
In the past the chalk brood used to mainly clear up but now many hives have it as a constant companion.
I once had a hive that was absolutely riddled and was going to requeen it but decided to wait until after a field day that I was having at home so that I would have some to show the visitors. When they came two weeks later there was not a cell to be seen.
Calk brood probably came into New Zealand with the illegal importation of Caucasian queens. It's a shame no one was ever prosecuted but the person who did it is now no longer with us and I suppose its ancient history.
 
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Alastair

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Calk brood probably came into New Zealand with the illegal importation of Caucasian queens. It's a shame no one was ever prosecuted but the person who did it is now no longer with us and I suppose its ancient history.

Someone whose initials were C.S. John?
 

Alastair

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Thanks, I know to whom you refer. I was once a neighbor or at least very near him at the time of the importation and was offered some, or I should say their progeny. It was not just Caucasians either, there was a whole shopping list..
 


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