Chalkbrood (Ascosphaerosis)

By Vivian and Nick H.
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Describe the pest/disease/problem.

Chalkbrood kills the brood of the honeybee by fungal spores infecting the gut of the larvae, and eventually
kills all the brood if not disposed properly. It kills them by consuming the body, it then grows white hair, called mycelia, which hardens and
becomes a hard mummy-like brood on the bottom of the hive. It is on the increase throughout the world.
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What is the cause?

The cause is the fungus Ascosphaera apis. It spreads through the broods food, and eventually gets larger. The fungus starts in the soil, and any litter, and can go up through the crop, which the brood consume. The fungus is ingested into the brood during feeding, and then effects its guts, and soon, engulfs the body.

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What are the symptoms?

Some symptoms of this disease are larvae that are white and moldy, hard, and white grey/black mummies
in cells on the floor, or in the front of the hives. These symptoms are commonly found in a Chalkbrood infested hive.
You can diagnose this fungus by looking at the entrance, in some cases.
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What damage will occur to the hive? (What should we look for?)

The larvae will grow a white fluff fungal called mycelia. The cap of the cells are brighter than normal, and don't cover the whole cell.
When the larvae are infected, they will get harder and harder until they are dried out.
Also, the adult bees take the larvae out of the cell and bring the white/gray mummies to the floor of the
hive or outside of the hive.
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What can we do to control / fix this problem?

To control/fix this problem here are some simple steps:
  1. Clean out all of the infected brood, inside or outside the hive.
  2. Wreck infected combs/cells that Chalkbrood was in.
  3. Air out the hive.
  4. Feed all disease free supplements.
  5. If case is bad enough, re-queen the hive.
  6. Use clean hive tools next time you interact with it, just incase the old tools are infected.
  7. Treat with a Chalkbrood killer.
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What can be done to prevent this problem from occuring?

To prevent this problem, make sure the bees are not stressed out. Stress is a key thing for Chalkbrood to infect the hive. Other things to manage are Temperature change, Poor nutrition, Bad hive control, an infected bee changing from hive to hive, and change in humidity, or wetness and dryness.

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