In my continuing quest to be prepared for the Apprentice Level Exam for the Texas Master Beekeeper program, this is the next entry in my series of study guides. As a reminder, here is the list of what you need to know for the apprentice level exam.
Yesterday’s article was about American Foulbrood
Today I am studying European Foulbrood. While it’s still dreadful to have anything associated with your bees that starts with the word “foul”, European Foulbrood is the not quite as dreadful one to get. Oh, and by the way, the only reason one is “American” and one is “European” has to do with an American person identified the American one, and…you guessed it….a European identified the subject of today’s study.
European Foulbrood is another thing to keep in your mind when you discover a scattered brood pattern. European Foulbrood doesn’t make spores (like American does) so that makes it easier to control. This bacteria gets into the brood food and is eaten by the larve. Then it competes for food with the larve which understandably causes problems for the larve. And, if varroa didn’t already cause enough problems, they are spreaders of EFB. Just another reason to be vigilant with your mite control.
I read that there appears to be a relationship to the ratio between nurse bees and larva and the incidence of European Foulbrood. During a big nectar flow, more bees are assigned to “worker” status so there are less nurse bees. This creates a situation for EFB to take over. When the ratio corrects itself, the problem will likely be corrected.
When Larvae die from European Foulbrood they curl up, change color from that glorious glossy white to yellow or brown. The dead larvae will feel rubbery. When the larve die, the workers don’t cap the cell, so that’s why the scattered brood pattern is a big clue.
The best way to keep European Foulbrood out of your life is to keep a generally healthy hive. If you start to notice a problem, you can treat with antibiotics and you can also requeen your hive for more hygenic behavior by the bees.