October is American foulbrood (AFB) awareness month. Run by the Department of Primary Industries, the campaign aims to raise awareness of the disease, its impacts and best management practice and to encourage beekeepers to inspect their hives.
AFB is an incurable bacterial disease affecting European honey bee larvae. It is fatal to the brood and heavy infections can wipe out most of the brood, severely weakening, or even killing, the bee colony.
“Beekeepers need to be aware of what’s happening in their hive and this is a great opportunity for them to have a look and ensure they are disease free.” said Sandi Munro, Chairperson and Biosecurity Officer for the Mudgee BeeGroup.
The disease is not highly contagious but can be contracted through poor beekeeping practices. AFB spores can be spread through contaminated honey, apiary products, hive parts and equipment and can remain viable for up to 50 years.
AFB is not stress related and can affect the strongest colonies. As there is no cure, infected colonies and hives must be destroyed or irradiated to prevent potential impacts on a regions apiary industry.
“Pest management and disease control is a must to ensure we protect our industry and the important role bees play in the broader agriculture.” said Ms Munro.
Want to find out more about beekeeping and having your own hive?
The Mudgee Bee Group provides training, peer support and mentoring to it’s members, both practising and aspiring beekeepers. The group also keeps community bee hives to provide novice beekeepers with an opportunity to gain experience in handling bees and hands-on experience in starting and maintaining a hive.
If you would like more information about the Mudgee Bee Group please contact Claudia Wythes, Watershed Landcare Coordinator, on 0412 011 064 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/Mudgeebeegroup.
The Mudgee Bee Group is supported by Watershed Landcare and the Amateur Beekeepers Association and is a part of the NSW Government’s Local Landcare Coordinators Initiative, supported through the partnership of Local Land Services and Landcare NSW. The Mudgee Bee Group and Watershed Landcare would also like to acknowledge support from AREC, for hosting the Mudgee Bee Group hives and providing a venue for meetings.