Bee DysenteryBee dysentery is a health problem that affects hive individuals that do not live in hygienic conditions. This occurs when the bees have been prevented for a long time to perform cleansing flights. The diseases can also be triggered by food supplies that contain lots of impurities or by fermenting honey.
It is thought that Nosema can also trigger the condition. If the honey bees are not able to defecate outside they will have to do this inside the hive. A large number of bees defecating inside the hive for a long time may lead to the death of the bee family. If combs filled with honeydew are left inside the hive during winter, the bees will definitely die due to dysentery during the cold season. The condition can be caused by phonic pollution around the hive, pests inside the hive, queen loss or blockage of hive entrance.
Bees that suffer from dysentery eliminate excrements that have a low consistency, have an unusual color and smell and contain undigested pollen traces. The honey bees affected by the disease have floated abdomens and are very agitated. They cannot fly, crawl at the hive entrance and their body is covered in brown excrements. When they are pressed on the abdomen they defecate immediately.
Low temperatures are a danger for honey bees, especially if they last for two-three weeks in a row. The bees cannot engage in cleansing flights and the chances for dysentery increase. The presence of tell-tale type of signs on combs, hive frames and hive entrance is a sign that the bees are affected by dysentery. Dead bees in the hive vicinity are also a sign of the disease.
Beekeepers having apiaries in temperate regions with harsh winters know that it is almost impossible for their bees to undergo cleansing flights in the cold season. For this reason they take out all the natural honey from combs and feed the bees with sugar syrup or a corn syrup that has a high content of fructose. These syrups are almost free of indigestible parts and thus there are fewer chances for bees to develop acute diarrhea. Bee dysentery can be treated by feeding the bees with sugar syrup enriched with medicinal plants such as mint or yarrow. The colonies can be given food supplements consisting of honey and sugar cakes or sugar syrups that can contain a bit of raw milk or powdered milk.
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