Bee aware of foulbrood

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has declared American foulbrood (AFB) Awareness Month this October to help keep local bee hives healthy and productive.

DPI plant biosecurity prevention and preparedness manager, Chris Anderson, urged beekeepers across the state to look for symptoms of AFB and take prompt action.

“If there are signs of AFB, dark sunken or perforated caps and dead larvae which rope out of cells, a Vita AFB field test kit can be used to diagnose the disease,” Dr Anderson said.

“Kits are available from beekeeping supply outlets and slide-smear samples can be submitted to NSW DPI for analysis – if there’s a positive diagnosis immediate action to rid hives of disease should be taken.”

AFB is a notifiable disease under the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015, which means once detected, beekeepers, must notify NSW DPI within one working day by calling 1800 084 881.

Dr Anderson said every beehive in NSW should be inspected and if AFB is found the infected bees must be appropriately euthanased.

“Hive ware should be destroyed by burning, or treated with hot wax or irradiation before bees are re-introduced,” he said.

“It is critical hives with disease are isolated from bees until they have been treated.”

Antibiotics treatment of AFB is illegal and NSW DPI biosecurity officers are on the lookout to ensure antibiotics are not being used to mask AFB in hives.

Antibiotic use spreads AFB, creates serious risk of disease to hives across NSW and contravenes the Stock Medicines Act 1989 and the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015.

AFB Awareness Month aims to increase awareness of AFB and promotes best management practices throughout commercial and recreational beekeeping sectors.

The theme – Inspect, Test, Notify, Act – is a prompt to help beekeepers get on the front foot in monitoring bees and hives on a regular basis.

AFB tips and information about its symptoms and best management practices are available online,

Media contact: Bernadette York 02 6938 1664 or 0427 773 785

Acknowledgement: Reproduced from a media release by the NSW Department of Primary Industries

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