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Uncommon Brood Diseases 1: Stonebrood

A quick look at rare brood disease Stonebrood.

Stonebrood is a fungal infection that kills and mummifies bee larvae. Two species of fungus, Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus fumigatus, are associated with the disease.

Identifying Stonebrood Disease

This disease is quite rare and short-lived. However, it is important to know how to distinguish it from Chalkbrood, which also mummifies larvae.

  • Stonebrood infected larvae mostly die inside sealed cells
  • First, larvae lose their normal glistening appearance
  • As the fungus takes over, they become dull white and fluffy
  • The remains start to harden, shrink and wrinkle within a day, becoming very hard ‘mummies’ after a few more
  • The colour of the mummies changes from white to greenish instead of blue/grey or black as seen in Chalkbrood
  • The fungus erupts just behind the head of the larvae, forming a collar, instead of starting from the rear end of the larva as in Chalkbrood.

Management of Stonebrood

According to the Australian Beekeeping Guide, Stonebrood disease is short lived and can generally be disregarded. Good hive management practices, such as those recommended for Chalkbrood, should be enough support the hive through the infection and reduce the chance of spread.

Adapted from the Australian Beekeeping Guide.

This is healthy brood, capped and uncapped. Uninfected brood is “glistening” and white.

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