This blog explains how I keep bees. It works for me, it might not work for you. Use my methods at your own risk. Always wear protective clothing and use a smoker when working bees.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012


Blacklight on

Blacklight, this one used three AAA batteries

I had a new beekeeper stop by today. He ordered some bees and was showing my wife Wendy a used frame that he got with some used equipment. She put the frame under a black light and saw some foulbrood scale. She called me outside to confirm her suspicions. I looked at the frame outside in sunlight and inside with the black light and in both cases I could see the scale at the bottom of the cells of the frame. There also was foulbrood odor we smelled and I am on day four of a head cold. The frame wasn't solid foulbrood but a few cells had it. I told the new beekeeper that it was good he checked the used equipment because the new hive would have come down with American Foulbrood disease from the scale in the cells. Foulbrood scale is contagious for a very long time. Frames from the Univ of MN with foulbrood scale on them over 100 years old were tested to see if they were contagious. They discovered they still had active infectious spores in the scale that infected their test colony. If a beekeepers hive dies every year and population always is very poor, American foulbrood may be the reason.
Using a black light ( Amazon.com about $12.00 ) makes foulbrood scale take on a greenish color. It is always on the bottom of the cell. The frame has to be positioned so the eye is looking from the top bar side of the frame looking down at the bottom of the cells.
Healthy comb looks normal under the light. Don't get confused with pollen in a cell. Pollen is packed into the cell and fills up the cell. Again, foulbrood scale is ALWAYS on the bottom of a cell.
Any frames with foulbrood scale should be burned. They will ALWAYS reinfect a colony if they are not eliminated from the colony.