October is AFB Awareness Month

The ‘ropiness’ test can be used to identify American foulbrood in a hive

It’s that time of year again. NSW DPI is asking beekeepers to inspect their hives and work together to minimise the occurrence of American foulbrood (AFB) in NSW hives.

What is AFB?

AFB is a fatal and incurable disease of European honey bees caused by the bacterium Paenibacillus larvae. The bacterium kills the bee larvae and spreads by producing spores that can survive for decades. There is no treatment for a hive infected with AFB and it will eventually die.

How is AFB spread?

AFB spores are microscopic and can be spread readily by bees as well as on all stored bee hive components, including honey. The disease is extremely resilient to heat, cold and drying. Any hive can contract AFB and the disease can destroy an apiary. We need your help to stop its its spread.

What do you need to do?

This October, NSW DPI is asking all beekeepers to INSPECT, TEST, NOTIFY and ACT.

INSPECT your hives for signs of AFB.

TEST any suspect symptoms if you are unsure.

NOTIFY DPI when you confirm the disease.

ACT to prevent the spread of confirmed AFB by euthanising the bees in the affected hive and treating or disposing of the hive and its components properly. Do this immediately if there is a risk of robbing.

More images, fact sheets, videos and information about how to test for and identify American foulbrood in a hive can be found on the BeeAware American foulbrood page.

Where can you go for more information?

Visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/afb for more information on AFB Awareness Month and handy resources to help you minimise AFB in your hives.

Do your bit for the bees

AFB Awareness Month is a joint initiative between NSW DPI and the Amateur Beekeepers Association NSW, the North Shore Beekeepers’ Association, NSW Apiarists’ Association and Steritech. The aim is to highlight awareness of AFB and promote best management practices.

PLEASE NOTE: American foulbrood is a notifiable disease in all states and territories of Australia.

Acknowledgement: reproduced from an article provided by NSW Department of Primary Industries