Talk:List of diseases of the honey bee

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Scientific and objective[edit]

Please keep in mind when making contributions to beekeeping pages such as these that circumstantial evidence based on your personal experiences is helpful in understanding nuance. However objective, documented, research based contributions go much further and give more validity to the information being offered here.

Just because your personal experience doesn't match the conditions or details presented does not mean a change to the data presented warrants being changed. If you can provide documented research data to support your change, please feel free to make changes with said research cited. If you want to make a conditional note based on your circumstantial evidence, please just add a note and cite that your information is exactly your own personal experience instead of trying to make your personal experience stand for everyone else.

Wikipedia already suffers a lack of credibility as a resource because of the lack of credible research and citations to support pages like these. We want to make resource pages like these more credible, not continue the status quo.

Bigbearomaha (talk) 14:33, 8 August 2016 (UTC)


Sacbrood virus (SBV) Morator aetatulas is the virus that causes sacbrood disease. Affected larvae change from pearly white to gray and finally black. Death occurs when the larvae are upright, just before pupation. Consequently, affected larvae are usually found in capped cells. Head development of diseased larvae is typically retarded.

There has to be a better way to say this. (talk) 13:53, 23 April 2008 (UTC)


Heh, now that I see the names in front of me, I remember a lot more of them than just the tracheal mites; I remember worrying about foulbrood (presumably the American variety), wax moths, and of course chill too. All my apiary experience is about a decade and a half old, though, so e.g. the varroa mites are news to me.

Could we get a description of the "K-wing deformity"? Otherwise there isn't much point to mentioning it. Like I said, I don't know these varroa mites at all, so I have no idea what it means, though I'd guess it results in either a wing or the set of wings being shaped somewhat like the letter 'K'.

Regarding the "K-wing" deformity, I just found a couple of examples on the 'Net: here (needs scrolling a bit) and especially here, both with photos. Could someone with better English skills describe the condition in this article? saimhe 12:52, 1 November 2006 (UTC)
K Wing
Actually "K" wing is a symptom of Tracheal mites, not Varroa mites and not DWV. A crumpled deformed wing is the sign of deformed wing virus (DWV) and this is NOT the same as "K" wing. "K" wing is when the two sets of wings are no longer connected in the middle (as they normally are) and the back wing is actualy forward of the front wing. The wings then form a letter "K". This is due to damage to the wing muscles by the Tracheal mites.
Why is the only treatment for Varroa listed, Formic Acid? There are many treatments.
Michael Bush (talk) 19:01, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Does no one care? This article is VERY inaccurate. "K" wing is NOT a symptom of Varroa. "K" wing is a symtom of Tracheal mites. Deformed wings from DWV are crumpled and stubby. They are NOT "K" winged. The link from "K" wing to the DWV page is just as inaccurate. DWV does NOT cause "K" wing!

Michael Bush (talk) 19:21, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

I've corrected the incorrect link; the wikilink for K-wing deformity needs to be changed from a redirect to a stand-alone page; why don't you draft one (based on one of the other bee disease pages) and let us know when you've created it, so we can look it over? Dyanega (talk) 01:31, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
It took me a while to remember where I found the reference but The Beekeeper's Handbook, D Sammataro & A Avitabile, 3rd ed, pg 136 states that the Type 1 syndrome of chronic paralysis virus (CPV) "is recognized by trembling bees that crawl on the ground with dislocated wings (K-wing) ... [and] can be associated with ... mite infestation..." The symptoms of CPV are "very similar to those of colonies suffering from tracheal mites" but are not necessarily caused by them. Later in the section, she also says that deformed-wing virus is associated with varroa infestation. From all the sources I've read, both wing maladies are possible symptoms of varroa. If you're positive that K-wing is never a symptom of varroa, please cite your sources.
As to the section on treatments, fix it. There is no reason why formic alone should be listed. But remember that this is an overview encyclopedia article, not a how-to manual. Whatever we say about treatments should probably be short compared to the space devoted to the disease itself. Rossami (talk) 03:47, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Wax moths[edit]

We had wax moths here in Wisconsin, so I'm going to slightly weaken "generally not a problem" to "usually not a problem".

Thanks for the good work, Rossami! :) -- John Owens 20:47 May 7, 2003 (UTC)

Recent Vampire Mite Scare[edit]

The recent devastation of hives appears to be due to Varroa becomming immune to chemical miticides-however organic controls using Essential Oils particulary mint are effective, and effective against other problems. I added a link at the bottom, lack of time at moment to edit the page.

Well, if you really study the numbers, it's not at all clear that there actually is a "recent devastation of hives". The reported loss rate for the 2004/2005 winter appears to be within the statistical fluctuation of normal winter losses (according to both an informed discussion on the BEE-L listserve and a recent article in Bee Culture magazine).
The attribution of this year's losses to Varroa immunity is also a hotly contested question. Many well-informed beekeepers consider it equally likely that the losses are due to the gradual build-up of those same chemicals in the hive (particularly in the wax comb) as a stressor on the colony. Or that vaguaries in the weather caused the colonies to starve mere inches away from the honey. Or that tracheal mites are back as a significant threat in North America. Or that increased pesticide use in the areas around the hive are the culprit.
On top of that, I'm afraid that you will find lots of anecdotes but very few published and repeatable studies about the effectiveness of essential oils (mint or otherwise) in combatting varroa. I'd be very interested if you know of any verifiable studies, though. Rossami (talk) 16:40, 31 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Research on Essential oils for Varroa:
Here's a few, but you can easily find many more.
Michael Bush (talk) 19:01, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Pulled comments[edit]

I'm pulling this comment from the section on "Drone brood excision" (a sub-bullet of the Varroa section). Not all top-bar hive keepers cycle comb in the manner described. Some do use miticides. Rossami (talk) 6 July 2005 21:42 (UTC)

Note that miticides cannot be used in top bar hives due to the way comb is cycled through the hive for control of other diseases such as foul brood.

I'm pulling this comment because recent research is disputing this rule of thumb. Several recent studies have shown that the "acceptable" mite load on a colony is time-dependent (at least, in temperate climates). A load that is easily survivable in the spring or early summer can be lethal to the colony in the fall (because the colony enters winter with a high proportion of bees that have already been stressed by the parasitization). I'd like to get this full discussion of acceptable mite load into the article somewhere but haven't yet figured out where. Rossami (talk) 6 July 2005 21:49 (UTC)

It is generally considered acceptable if the number of varroa mites does not exceed 25 percent of the number of drone larvae and pupae.

Acarine mites?[edit]

Is this in fact the correct term? In isolation, it's a tautology, like "canine dogs" or "feline cats"; every mite, by definition, is acarine. The pages linked in the "References" section all use the term "tracheal mites". If this term is actually used (and I should say that I know very little about beekeeping), then it needs to be referenced. Tevildo 21:13, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

You are not the first person to wonder how people could fail to recognize the tautology, but common names are like that, and beekeepers use the term "acarine mites" quite often (see [1] and references cited therein for an example). The reason appears to be that the disease was originally known as "acarine disease". The (il)logical extension to a beekeeper was, if a mite transmits acarine disease, then you call it an "acarine mite", the same way you refer to "malaria mosquitoes" or "lyme ticks" (or "West Nile virus"). The reverse is also true - beekeepers converted scientific names like Nosema or Varroa into the name of the disease (so you will see numerous references to "varroa" in the beekeeping literature), because someone, somewhere, evidently assumed that when a scientist mentioned the "Varroa mite" to them it meant that it was a mite which transmitted "varroa". It has its own brand of logic, and it's doubtful that these memes will ever die, now that they're established. Dyanega 17:04, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
Ahh, I see, thanks. Perhaps this would be a useful addition to the article text? Tevildo 21:51, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
It might be, if there was any way to prove that was how the usage was derived. In effect, it constitutes "original research" and would not be appropriate material for the article itself - though here on the talk page, it's fine to offer such an unverifiable explanation. Dyanega 22:52, 12 March 2007 (UTC)


I'm a beekeeper from Sweden, which is known for being a nordic and rather cold country. In short, I think the sentence "Occasional warm days in winter are critical for honey bee survival; dysentery problems increase in likelihood if there are periods of more than two or three weeks with temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit." is plain wrong. My hives frequently withstand more than a month of mostly below-zero centigrade (that's 32 Farenheit) without suffering from more than very mild dysentery. Over ten years of beekeeping I have yet to lose a hive to cold, mould or dysentery - in fact I've never lost a colony at all. Swedish bees normally don't leave the hive at all between say, november and march. Then they all go simultaneously on some sunny day in early spring (frequently leaving our cars looking like they had a really weird paint job...). We do not normally keep our hives indoors or even isolate them during the winter, but we do remove as much honey as we can in the autumn and give them, not corn syrup, but a solution of table sugar (saccharose) in water, or commersially prepared feed which also mostly contains sugar. However it would be nice with some more input on this before I edit the section; for all I know what is considered common knowledge in Sweden might be wrong and I've missed some scientific paper on the matter... Furiku 11:37, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

re: Varroa treatments[edit]

Once upon a time, this page had a fairly long section on varroa treatment options. After a while, that section was deemed too detailed for this page and it was moved to a section on the varroa mite page. Sometime later, a paragraph was readded here that only talked about Mite-Away (and did so in almost advertorial tone). That was clearly inappropriate so I (forgetting that the section had been moved to another page) recreated the laundry list of common treatments.

In hindsight and looking at the context of the varroa mite page, I'm not sure where this content fits best. The treatments are, as far as I know, only applicable to the suppression of varroa within honey bee colonies. Is the mite really so restricted that the only treatment would ever be in the context of honeybees? If not, should the discussion of treatment be moved back here?

Or if we do leave the extended treatment on the varroa page, what level of synopsis is appropriate here so that we don't get a recreation of an unbalanced discussion of a single commercial product? Rossami (talk) 01:51, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Acarapis woodi and Isle of Wight disease[edit]

Acarapis woodi did not cause Isle of Wight disease. If someone wants to fix it before I get around to it, there are details here CJTweedy (talk) 04:09, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Treatment of Varroa mites.[edit]

Regarding the treatment of Varroa mites, I find the following sentence: Common chemical controls include "hard" chemicals ... and "soft" chemicals ... (ellipses mine). This is an article about bee diseases rather than chemistry, of course, so there's no need to be long-winded about it, but if some brief clarification could be offered in the article about what "hard" and "soft" mean in this context (even if what is offered is a technical synonym that can then be linked to appropriate articles), it'd be a good thing. Getheren (talk) 01:52, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

My knowledge of Varroa treatment is outdated, but I suspect the "hard" controls include things like fluvalinate, a synthetic pyrethroid miticide found in Apistan strips. "Soft" controls might be something analagous to the Crisco/sugar patties tested against tracheal mites. ISTR that hives treated with unmedicated control patties did better than untreated hives: something about the shortening interfering with the mites' olfaction, making it difficult for them to locate workers young enough to infest. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 17:00, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
Your knowledge is not that badly outdated. I would add coumophos as a hard chemical. Examples of soft chemicals, though, are oxalic acid, thymol, essential oils, etc. Mechanical controls would include drone brood trapping, powdered sugar dusting, etc. Crisco, to me, is somewhere between the idea of 'soft chemical' and 'mechanical'. Rossami (talk) 20:56, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

chalkbrood disease in bees[edit]

Trying to find a natural "fix" for this disease. Have found that a whole banana (skin and all) placed inside the top of the hive under the lid helps to clean it up but not overly succesful. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mnarold (talkcontribs) 07:54, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

I've never heard of the "banana" treatment and have no idea why that would be successful. My suspicion is that the improvement you saw was more the result of changing weather. As the article already says, the usual treatment for chalkbrood is increased ventilation. Chalkbrood is brought on by excessive moisture, creating a favorable environment for fungi. Screened bottom boards and/or top entrances will both improve ventilation. If that doesn't work, you might have to resite your hives. Rossami (talk) 13:18, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
The times I have seen chalkbrood, the hives were poorly situated, such as being placed in a gully or ravine with a damp microclimate. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 14:42, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

Diseases and other abnormal conditions[edit]

I just edited the (skimpy) lead "paragraph" to add mention of abnormal hive conditions. Wax moths are not exactly a honeybee disease; they might be more accurately described as commensal to weak colonies. Will it be appropriate to include other abnormalities, such as queenlessness, or laying workers? __ Just plain Bill (talk) 14:42, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

Colony collapse - I read an article that the bee genome has been completed - not that many genes maybe. The researcher I heard on TV said that when the genome was studied it was discovered that honey bees have a "rudimentary" immune system. They had hoped to breed a better/stronger/more immune bee strain but she said there was no genes to work with. She said that bees survive by outbreeding a problem not by getting more immune. Modern problems - mites,pesticides, etc - operate faster than bees can make babies - she was pretty gloomy as to the future. (talk) 19:45, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

Nosema in pests/parasites?[edit]

The section on Nosema is currently in Pests and Parasites. Nosema is a Microsporidian fungus. Why not move it to the Fungal Disease section? Yes, it is a parasite of sorts, but an obligate intracellular one, which isn't terribly alike the others in the section.

Just a thought. (talk) 14:21, 7 August 2011 (UTC) EJ

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