There’s nothing quite as miserable for beekeepers as the blight of American foulbrood (AFB). A colony infected with the spore will grow weak and be targeted for robbing, and the bees will spread the disease quickly, sometimes leading to devastating, widespread outbreaks.
Cases of AFB have been found in all states of Australia and across the world - and the trauma of having to destroy an infected hive is something even members of our team have had to deal with. The bacterium Paenibacillus larvae kills the brood after the cells have been capped and the bee larvae rots inside.
Early diagnosis and intervention is crucial, which is why the NSW Department of Primary Industries is working with the Amateur Beekeepers Association NSW, the North Shore Beekeepers Association, NSW Apiarists’ Association and Steritech to promote AFB Awareness Month.
The DPI has put together a web page to guide you through the process of checking for, identifying and working with the DPI to curb the spread of this nasty disease. We also recommend you join your local beekeeping club.
Participating in AFB Awareness Month is not only an important part of being a responsible member of the beekeeping community, but a great excuse to open up your brood box and perform a thorough inspection as we head into the bumper summer nectar flows.
Please inspect your hives as soon as you can and help spread the word.
AFB is reportable in all states and territories in Australia. If you suspect your hive has contracted this bacteria, please contact your state or territory Department of Primary Industry.
Happy hive inspecting!