Sacbrood, a disease of bees

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Sacbrood, a disease of bees
White, G. F ( Gershom Franklin ), b. 1875
Place of Publication:
Washington, D.C.
U.S. G.P.O.
Publication Date:

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University of Florida
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This item is a work of the U.S. federal government and not subject to copyright pursuant to 17 U.S.C. §105.
Resource Identifier:
29647245 ( ALEPH )
27980294 ( OCLC )

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toIud Jmnuiry I5,W18i.

L 0. HOWARD Fntomoloaut nd Chie of Bura.

A :\ 'C I- IV () )


G. F. W-N1TI. M. D., P31 ).,
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7144T-)tt ITO UOEHNWstmT PRitTING OTFlCF 1.11

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L. 0. HOWARD, Eiiumologisi and chieff of Bureau.
C. L. MARLATT, Entomologist and Acting Chief in Absence of Chief.
R. S. (CI.rIrON. Executirc .4,.sis/ant.
IW. F. TASTET, ('Ci f ('rl.

F. H. CHITTENDEN, in charge of truck crop and .sit'rcd irodultt insect investigations.
A. D. HOPKINS, in chaifi gr of forest insect investigations.
W. D. HUNTER, in clii'jr of southern field crop insect ini'rsti.gaion.'.
F. M. WEBSTER, in'charge of cerical and forage insect in vestigations.
A. L. QUAINTANCE, in charge of deciduous fruit insect inreo.ligpli',ns.
E. F. P11PHILLIPS. in charge of bee enllr'c.
D. M. I{or;:Rs, in charge of preventing spread of molih,. field work.
ROLLA P. CURRIE, in o baref Of ClJit,'iil ivork.
.MA..I.L COLCORD, in charge of lib'iry.


E. F. PHILLIPS, in i,1,'gii.

G. S. DEMUTH, A. H. MCCRAY, N. E. M1 I: DOO, apicultural assistants.
D. B. CASTEEL, collaborator.
PEAKI.E H. GARRISON, pi''liarrilor.

United States Departnient (f Agriculture,

L. 0. HOWARD, Entomologist and Cbhief of Bureau.

]ly 1;. V'. \'lliip. M D. Pflit ., I ,i. i-0 t Itmt, f i r l, oiii

i NTODI M(ioN.

The purpose of this preliminary paper is to discuss Irilly a dis-
ease. which has been remogiiizd h% the bec keepers rI'wi i,,.i,1 yv.:vii
s (deand brood. that is Iil 'iilt I'l',ii, fIll brood.
Sacbrood. ihereft re, is no new disease. Samp 4es ,f it lihive been
received from all the Simi., t except three. t,,i.ill..r with samples friii
('1naditl. ThIis disease really has had no namie. In recent years many
bee kt eper-, have 1,\ mistake spoken ,,t it as "pickled brood." The
pickled brood as W;I li:nii R. Iloward descriles it, however, i- a ti\
dliffereiit disease. Before ,'il-idltrili, 'acbroi'(d it Illitlt I be well to
explain briefly what is miieant by pickled brood.
In S191; WilliiiM In Howairi. of Texas, wrote a paper in which he
de.cril'.. a disease of bees that he calls pickled brood." lie de-
clared in hii papit'r that the disease was caused by a lii ii- to which
lie lave the name -I.v, ,'7;;,i/ ,,,l1;,. In "'." he wrote a second
paItper in which he -;ivs that the fllnL'ii- imay attack no(t only the
larvir an'd pupe but adult bees a;s .\cl
MIlr in 19 I mentioned a disease 'If lwees which he says is caused
by a fiunli, :- stated by him to be similar to .1, ',/1.... '.t')s and
, il isolated from the larva, pupa', and .ai ,i b1ees !ilffred 1i\ the
d disease.
TII,'-t twvo iHii. lic. Howard and [;a--il. have each written 4f
a divase of bees "wli.ll they believe to be caused 1,% a fuiii -. By
each it is claimed that the fi nuni- can attack adult bees as well as the
larva, and puxpa. [Iiwrd named the disease which iw iiiiiii.ii .'l
piikled Irooil." and M;, a.-..n rferrecI to( the disease which at-
*Thi daular will Ib followed by a hulletin of th1s bureau in whhch this dlsfic will
be treated more f,il


NmolJatiiii% 1, 13


tracted his attention as ani aspergillusmycosis in bees." The dis-
eases, as described by Howard and Maassen. then, would be called
fillg ow,. diseases.
If there are any such furngou diseases of bees in the United States
they have not yet attracted the attention of the bee keepers. I base
this conclusion upon the fact that during my study of bee diseases
there has not yet been received from the bee keepers any sample that
could be considered a fiingou, disease. If future investigations
demonstrate that there exists a fungous disease like the one lhoward
has d-1,ri1,ed. then the name pickled brood can be used to desig-
nate it. When using the term pickled brood in the future the
possible disease condition described by Howard will be meant.
There is a disease of the brood of bees that has attracted consid-
erable attention among bee keepers that is neither American foul
brood. European foul brood, pickled ,rook. chilled brood, nor
starved brood. This disorder of the brood has for many years been
recognized by bee keepers as being different from foul brood. Doo-
little, of America, in 1881 wrote of a disease which he says is similar
to and called foul brood but which is not foul brood. He writes that
the larvae die here and there throughout the brood comb and that
the disease may disappear entirely or it may reappear the next sea-
son. Jones, of Canada, in 1883 wrote also of a disease which results
in a dying of the brood, with appearances similar to foul brood; but
he states that the disease is not foul br, od. He says that the bees
frequently remove the dead brood and that no further trouble ensues.
Simmins, of England, in 18,s7 wrote of dead brood which he says is
not foul brood, and describes the difference in appearance between
the brood dead of the disease and brood dead of foul brood. lie
states, furthermore, that the condition is different from chilled brood
and that Cheshire did not find any microscopic evidence of disease
in larvae dead of the disease. An editorial in one of the bee journals
in 1S!'2- is of particular interest at this point. The editor wrote that
he had recently encountered dead brood which did not seem to be
infectious and which lacked two decisive symptoms of the real foul
brood, viz, the ropiness and the glue-pot odor.
My own study of this dead brood, recognized by the bee keepers
as bcing different from foul b1rpood, was hlgun in li0"2. Eight sam-
ples labeled "pickled brood'" were received from the bee inspectors
of New York State during 190-2 and 1903. Tlie-c samples were ex-
amined and were found to be practically free from inicroo)rganismf .
The results of these examinations were published in January. 1904.
Burri, of Switzerlaiind, in 190 reported the results of the examination
of 25 samples of brood material thought by the bee keeper- to be

d iseii. -ed. lie idal, ml the results f his examinamt ions under the l'i,,w-
ing heitIdin '."' lm >- i 040". A N fw -i l iL tn Ir d. 1 '' 1-id'ii-li g i
foul Il,,i',1,l." and "dead brood fret" froIm bIacteria." Four of tin. -',
s,,iliiih.', \.;,iiii,.l contained dead brood fr,., fro lllacteria and ilinac-
,iimpanied ly alhtr di ase lKiirs-teiner. 't' .-N il/,.l..,1I. inI I I'. ,
in ,'a-.-i yifnr ., the results obtained from samples examined !,\ 1aiii,.
1n1a1ih, the same -l:,i- li'';ai''IL as made by Blurri. l), ii,,1 the past six'. :;>'.' samples of this Idisease have been received l'\. the BHireau
of E:nt o, iiit'l. lg a;nd din:. ,-*., in its Ilct, .i-,],,,:i l laboratory.
'I'lh r, i-. tl .,'n r .lM,%e a dis-ordler all.,,liir_ the brood of bees in which
br, 'a,1 die. but in which there has not 1MVen demonstrated any micro-
orgiiiiin to which the cause of the trouble (cohld IN* attributed. For
thi. dii.'a.-, the name r -f sacbrootd is here -,,I .,.td.

A, silted, nlv first examination of thiis dead brood was iiitl,- inl
1902iO. when samples were received ,i.i1.',,o-,,I bee ki,.C~- as
pickled brood." The fact was easily determined at that time that
the disease roiild not be considered a fin.._',,- ,Ii-..i-, and was there-
fore not pickledl brood. In the past my ,rfrc',ii., has been to ni' fr
to this condition only as the "so-called pickled lirNn." .-inc the
tlise:ise is not pickled brood, it will produce less conflliiiotii and be
more swienit ii if the term "pickled brood" be entirely omitted in
the name for the disease. Malay larva*l ,lrId of this disease can ,be
removed from the cell without r'lolm iir, their body wall. WH. IrMi
thus removed they have the a[p;irance of a small closed sac. This
character ,i..-ted the name sacbrood." 'It.l name has thle \ iii ie.
thereforei Aof beill. both apl)propriate and lia I FIIE SYMPTOMS OF SAIPIR(N1i).

Thei -Ir,'ngth 4f a colony in which saclrood is present is frequently
not noticeably ,vdiiil-l- Id. When the brood is badly inf.,trd. how-
ever, the colony naturally becomes a Ipp))reciably weakened therebWV.
The br,,oI dItv afie ilr the time of ,:a p'ira .. The dead larva* are there-
fore ,liii'n,-t always f,.11ad1 extr.,Ihri il Ir 'l wise in the cell and 1 il ai-r
with lithe dr-.l side ,i_:iia the lower wall. It is not unusual to find
Vnrny larva( dead af this disease in unvca'l-l1, cells. S.', I 10 rood,
however, had been uncapped bv the bees after it died. In this disease
the cIppiig.- are tf'rial'-tillv plii't lil 'v the l,..-. Occasionally a
cappin'r, has a hole l'rt..Lrll it. iialiid ._i that thle cai'ii .L. it-self had
never been I'1Mlhii.. 1I. A larva dead of this disease loses its normal
cIl'ir and assumes at first a -li.i.lhtly v '.i,' ili tint. Brovwn is tlie
,most characteristic a ;I'-,ir; iT ne assumed by the larva dluinsin,. its- WI .iv.
'rinl,- -li:ale- ar'e obh-erved. The term "..,:iy might sometimes
:appioiprit-elv be 'i-cvl to de-ian i:e it. TIe form of the larva ,hi.d,

SAB. 01' 11ii o A %I -) \ I I Ir' MI.I..x.


of this disease change- much less than it does in foul brood. The
1iody wall is not easily broken, as a rule. On this account often the
entire larva can be removed from the cell intact. The content of this
saclike larva is more or less watery. The head end is usually turned
markedly upward. The dried larva or scale is easily removed from
the lower side wall. There is practically no odor to the brood

In the study of samples of this disease received directly from bee
keepers no microorgani:ins have been found, either culturally or
microscopically, to which the cause of the disease can be attributed.
This fact, together with the fact that the disease often disappears
without any great loss to the colony, would tend to indicate that the
disease is not infectious. The experimental evidence which I have
obtained proves, however, that the disease is infectious.


Evidence has been obtained by me that sacbrood can he trans-
mitted from diseased to healthy brood. Three healthy colonies were
inoculated each with diseased material from a different locality, and
in each of these three experimental colonies the disease was pro-
duced. These results indicated at once that sacbrood is an infec-
tious disease. The microscopical and cultural -tudy of the infected
and dead brood in these experimental colonies, as in the case of the
diseased brood in samples direct from the apiary, failed to show
any organism to which the cause of the disease could be attributed.
This led naturally to a study of the condition to determine whether
or not the virus of the disease was so small that it had ,not been seen.
To obtain evidence on this point material containing the virus was
filtered, using an earthenware filter. The three colonlie- in which
the disease had been produced experimentally furnished the disease
material for the experiments. Larve, sick and dead. of sacbrood
were picked from the combs, ci wished. and diluted with sterile water.
This suspension was filtered by the use of the Berkefeld filter. From
each of the three diseased colonies a separate filtrate was obtained,
which was fed in sirup to healthy colonies. Six colonies were thus
fed-two with each of the three separate filtrates. As a result of
tlic-v inoculations sacbrood with typical symptoms of the disease was
produced in all of the six colonies thus fed.
One more experiment will be mentioned at this time. In this the
diseased brood used was taken from one of the colonies in which
the disease had been produced by feeding filtrate. Disease material
from this colony was filtered as before and fed to two healthy colonies,

SmTu 11ifiin A ni'- .^ I .-.11

with r-lt sabrood was produced in eachi. It IlliMil Ie)
iniielitiili d litr also that other v\[irrillwniit- made indicate tIhat the
virus. 1. killehl I.\ the :ilt ldiip lillii of a comllparatively small Ilamoult
of ieilt.
1I, I I colonies, itir,.fiir, -:i,,1,i mid, has lnt eI produced experiinrnt
iillv I ,' ffeliii to healthy colonies 11the virus of this disease. In I
of t I i .1,1 ie- the disease was produced by virus that had p)ass; d
throiili the Ilerklfikfld tiltr.. I lh, disease, therefore, which "ec
k, Il'er- li;,e filr a 1liin tinime rt,',..,rni/l'd as !,riui l ,ii illri ,i i from either
A, ii1iei .ii' or E I ropean f iiI hrood hias now Ieen demonstr Iated t1 I.
iin ii fet i i-, di ase that is ca us-ed 1\ a lilt .r:il il, virul.
The c'ln,' iliiiiii to he drawn i r, Ii this work. Ilr I Fr, is that
saiclroodi is an inifeet ions disease of he Ibr ood of Ies caus-ed lyv an
inflicting :.vcrlit that is so -ie:ill. or ,l suclih a nattiure. that it will
Il:- thriighii the pores of a Il.krrfeltd filter.
1'lw tl et, 'iii,.ipil brood diseases, then, are nlow all know-n tio
lhr itiife tiu|-. T'Ili'.. diseases are: .\rierican f,',,l ri,,l. caisied lv
IR,, i/''s larr '; Ii ropc: ii foul lIr,,I. caused tby B 'Ii '/ /, p ,tIII;
anI .I t ir Ie, 1 I. caused by a filterable virus.
A 1ppr( oved
I\ i ^IE8v :\l~iN
Secf', fii'.i ,, f A l'/'''' "ilttt,'+tf.

\\W \-!i1,n>4,, , D. C., l)e,+'mMb r l, 191,'


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