Does suspicious fecal matter indicate infected hive?

Q: I’m seeing what I would consider a suspicious amount of brown streaking on the outside of some hives I’m working with, but I’m not sure where the line between “normal” poop and “can't hold it because I have bee diarrhea” poop falls. I guess it’s really not that much poop, relatively, but I’m surprised that maybe 80-100 bees haven’t gone farther away from the hive to poop considering how many warm days there have been.

A: See the pictures below of a hive that was infected with Nosema disease. While the fecal matter is an indicator, it is not a positively sure way to identify the disease. A microscopic exam is necessary with at least a 400 power lens. You would look for the spores. Sean Burgess, Kentucky State Apiarist

Fecal matter from bees infected with Nosema. 7-FAQ-3-Apr13

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