Chalkbrood

 

Fungal Disease:  Ascosphaera apis

This is an infectious disease of the larvae, and is caused by a fungus called “Ascosphaera apis”.  Infected larvae look like pieces of chalk in the comb and is chalky-white initially, but some become dark blue-grey.

The disease mostly occurs in the spring and can worsen in the summer, generally disappearing in the autumn when the queen slows down laying.  It causes the death and mummification of sealed brood and seriously weakens the colony, affecting honey output and the general health and well-being of your bees.

 

Fortunately, it only very rarely kills a colony.

TREATMENT:  In a serious or heavy infection, the colony should be re-queened and preferably put onto fresh combs with a "Shook Swarm" technique.

Visual Indications of Chalkbrood

White "mummies"

This images show the mummified chalky remains of larvae still in their cells.  This is a common condition that beekeepers recognise and is not usually serious unless the infection is wide spread in the colony.

Hive debris

As the bees remove the dead larvae from their cells, the mummified remains are frequently found littered outside of the hive.

The image shows the chalky white and blue-grey remains of the mummified larvae.