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AFB Notification email, Michelago, 2620, NSW

Hello All,

Got a notification from NSW DPI of AFB in my postcode. Since 2620 Includes Queanbeyan (approx 40km away) and where I live near Michelago its a fair area. Hive inspection time I guess. I’m registered with the DPI so glad I did that to get the notifications. Sigh, all the fires, drought and now this. Hope the ladies are ok.

Btw how often should I be inspecting for AFB? The NSW Code says at least twice a year for general inspections and as “often as needed for disease control”. How often is often? I check on the ladies every day externally and to see what they’re up to. Then look at the brood every couple of months. They’re very active at the moment as we got some rain and we’ve got some yellow box flowering so can’t say its a weakened hive. Its been a crappy season otherwise as everything was dead or on fire but the last month has been better.


Dear Beekeeper,

This email has been automatically generated because American foulbrood (AFB) has recently been reported somewhere within the postcode of your registered beekeeper address. We cannot provide more precise location information due to privacy reasons.

AFB is an established bee disease in NSW and is easily spread by robbing (bees removing honey from an infected and weak hive and returning that honey to a strong hive). There is a possibility that your hives may have been exposed and infected.

It is recommended that you:

  1. Inspect your hives

It is recommended that you check your hives thoroughly for AFB if weather conditions allow. Monitoring your hive regularly will help you be more aware of potential changes in the health of the hive.

During winter you should reduce the entrance size of the hive to help weaker hives protect themselves from robbing. Dead, severely weakened hives and their honey boxes should be removed from the apiary and bee-proofed to stop access from other bees.

Watch a video on inspecting your hive for AFB.

  1. Test

You can test for AFB by preparing a slide (PDF, 318.08 KB) from any suspect diseased cells and sending it, along with a submission form for diagnosis to:

NSW DPI Laboratory Services

Courier address:

Woodbridge Road, Menangle NSW 2568

Postal address:

Private Bag 4008, Narellan NSW 2567

Phone: 1800 675 623

Email: laboratory.services@dpi.nsw.gov.au

You could conduct a VITA AFB diagnostic test. These may accurately indicate AFB, but if test result is negative then send a slide to EMAI for a second opinion.

You should consider testing honey from your apiary to see if the AFB bacterium is present in your operation. Contact the laboratory on the number above for how to prepare a honey sample.

  1. Notify

It is a legislative requirement to report AFB to NSW DPI within one working day if you know the disease is present. Call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881, or submit an online form or email biosecurity@dpi.nsw.gov.au

  1. Act

If you have AFB, you must:

· kill the bees in the affected hive, and
· destroy the affected hives by burning, or
· treat the hives by hot wax dipping,
· or irradiate the affected hives and frames
If planning to irradiate and reuse frames then it is recommended that you remove those frames prior to euthanasing the colony and protect them from bees robbing them. The honey can be extracted and is perfectly safe for human consumption.

All equipment from an AFB hive should be clearly identified and enclosed in bee proof bags and cartons and not reused until after it has been irradiated. Do not feed any honey back to bees (from an AFB hive or otherwise), which includes the wax cappings from extracted honey. Never allow AFB affected equipment to be exposed to robbing.

For more information about irradiation, refer to the Steritech website.

AFB is fatal and incurable and steps must be taken to eradicate the disease when it is found in your hives. More information on managing AFB including disposal of hives can be found here.

All inquiries should be directed to NSW DPI Bee Biosecurity Officers

Mark Page: mark.page@dpi.nsw.gov.au for amateur beekeepers


Rod Bourke: rod.bourke@dpi.nsw.gov.au for commercial beekeepers

Bee Biosecurity
NSW Department of Primary Industries | Biosecurity and Food Safety
W: www.dpi.nsw.gov.au | www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/biosecurity

If you suspect you have found a new pest, call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline 1800 084 881

This message is intended for the addressee named and may contain confidential information. If you are not the intended recipient, please delete it and notify the sender. Views expressed in this message are those of the individual sender, and are not necessarily the views of their organisation.

Did the hive inspection. Seems ok. No sunken brood caps. Lots of capped and uncapped brood (they have been collecting lots of pollen). No holes in caps with goopy stuff. I opened up some capped brood and all looked fine. No mummified brood in the frames.
When should I inspect again?

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There is nothing in your pics that is ringing an alarm bee for me. Do your regular hive inspections when the temp is over 22c with little or no wind and no rain. Plan your inspections out in advance so the hive is open for a minimum amount of time, especially in the colder months.

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Thanks. I’ll do that. Maybe in another month?
I’ll need to check their honey stores anyway. They’ve got about half a brood box full and half a honey super full so far. Last season at this time they had a full honey super capped and the brood box full as well. Full flow box too. I’d already harvested 26kg from it.
Then I left them the honey super and brood box for winter. Used up the brood box and 7 frames of the honey super over the 2019 winter.
Looks like I’ll need to feed them over this winter if they don’t fill up the honey super soon.
Basically I have a brood box, honey super and the Flow box on top. Only ever harvest the flow box.

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