Beekeeping Information Centre

Disease Inspection – Brood

It is good practice to carry out regular checks for brood diseases, at the very least once in Spring and again in the Autumn.

To check the brood
live bees need to be brushed or shaken off the combs.IMG_1020 (800x533)
To shake bees off a frame first remove one or two frames which do not contain brood from the edge of the brood box, so that you can make space. When you get to a frame with brood on it, hold it firmly by the lugs with most of the frame still suspended inside the box, and give it a short, sharp jerk down to shake most of the bees off and into the box rather than up into the air.

NBU Best Practice Guideline No.2 –
Handling and Examining a Colony of Bees
Learn to recognise healthy brood
– both capped and uncapped – so that you can spot when any looks abnormal.

Photos  from BeeBase Courtesy The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), Crown Copyright

Healthy capped brood.

healthy capped from BeeBase Courtesy The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), Crown Copyright (640x442)

Healthy uncapped brood with brood food.

healthy uncapped brood with brood food

Photo: Waugsberg/Kimmel

Know what you are looking for
If you find brood that looks abnormal it helps if you already have an idea of what conditions and diseases you might find and what to look for.

Bee Craft Disease Recognition Cards
A set of 4 laminated cards giving clear field recognition guides for:Bee-Disease-Recognition-Guides-2T
American Foul Brood
European Foul Brood
Small Hive Beetle
and Minor Brood Diseases (chalkbrood, sac brood, bald brood and drone brood in worker cells)
Each Guide gives a description of healthy brood and then describes the particular disease(s).
Photographs illustrate various stages of the disease(s) to aid recognition.
Advice is given on the actions to be taken should the disease(s) be suspected.
Available from the Bee Craft Shop. Click on the picture to view.
NBU Best Practice Guideline No. 4 – Disease recognition
Foulbrood Disease of Honey Bees
Available from your local bee inspector, from the National Bee Unit (NBU) and also to download from here.

If you suspect you have found American Foul Brood (AFB) or European Foul Brood (EFB) you must notify your local bee inspector. How to find your local bee inspector.