Brood Diseases in the Bee Hives

Bee diseases

  • American Foul Brood
  • Sacbrood
  • Nosema
  • Chalkbrood
  • Paralysis
 Brood diseases affect the developing brood. A beekeeper must always check the brood for abnormalities. Larvae should be fat, shiny and white and the sealed brood should be even.


A fungus infecting and killing larvae that then dries and shrinks to a chalk like mummy. The house bees expose and then remove these mummies. Only occasionally does the disease affect so many larvae that the mummies are seen. It weakens but does not usually kill the colony .Remove the infected combs, control the disease and keep stresses on the colony (insecticides, pests, etc.) to a minimum. Unite the colony with a stronger one. This disease is found in Uganda.

Bee Brood Disease

European Foul Brood

This bacterium affects the unsealed brood. It causes larvae to die and seem to ‘melt down’ in the cells. They turn brown and cause a sour smell in the hive. Combs are removed and new combs are added from unaffected colonies. The queen is caged for a few days so workers can remove diseased larvae and then released.

American Foul Brood

This bacterium causes bees to die in the larvae or pupa stage. It is very serious and very contagious. Capping are indented, the sealed brood becomes sunken and it looks like there is glue in the cells. The brood nest becomes irregular and there is a smell of glue in the hive. All bees and top bars must be burnt and the hive scorched and washed. Do not feed honey or exchange top bars and combs. Remember do not import bees and used beekeeping equipment into Uganda.


This disease affects brood at the pre pupae stage. The sealed brood will have lots of holes and pupae may be unsealed. The pupae will be found dead, pointed and underdeveloped. It is similar to European Foul Brood but without smell.

If you suspect that you have a brood disease you should

  • Remove and destroy all the affected brood combs.
  • Cage the queen for 7 days to stop the disease cycle
  • Feed the bees each day.
  • Use a queen gate after releasing the queen to prevent absconding.
  • Never exchange combs and top bars between hives

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