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Flow Hive in Canberra with confirmed AFB


For anyone in Canberra, we have another confirmed report of AFB, this time in a Flow Hive in O’Connor.

If you are in this area, please check your hives ASAP for any signs of disease.

Post with photo of one of the affected brood frames here:


I wish there was an ALERT of AFB whenever it gets detected in Australia. We know it’s around, but nobody says where. It would help if beeks were on extra alert if it’s detected in their area. Because we get complacent, an alert would prick all ears and inspections up.
Good on @RBK to publish this. Never saw anybody else do so.


i have found a handy way to be on top of brood disease inspection.
I ALWAYS examine the first brood frame very thoroughly, at every inspection (you can’t do a thorough inspection of the whole nest every time as you would be in your hives forever).
That way you can usually pick up a problem in its infancy


Is it a legal requirement to “burn the hive only” in that area like New Zealand and some US states?


The hive including all boxes, frames, lids etc. must be irradiated with gamma irradiation.


Wow, they are lucky they aren’t under the “burn only”.


This is what we are currently establishing in Canberra. The biggest challenge has been getting beekeepers to report incidents because of the stigma. We now have three different sources that we use to identify incidents/outbreaks and we correlate that information and provide it back to local beekeepers as soon as possible. We also assist in the cleanup of the hive components and packaging for irradiation.


Definitely, especially with plastic Flow frames. Unfortunately the Flow frames do become brittle with irradiation and can only last 2 or 3 cycles.


Hopefully, Flow hivers do the responsible thing and report the disease. That’s a lot of money up in smoke but it’ll be a lot worse if they spread the disease by not reporting it out of fear of having their equipment destroyed.


Once your flow frames have been irradiated, you would hope AFB is gone from your apiary. It’s essential to keep good hygiene all the time. I burn my hive tool in my smoker and change gloves between hives, just in case. If I help out a fellow beek, I wash my my bee suit. You can’t be nutty enough.
Not much you can do about robbing, except keep your colonies strong and your entrance small.
But we all have a weak nuc sometimes.


Technically speaking- it seems it wasn’t really a flow hive- seems the beek never added the flow super… which is lucky for them.

Is hot wax dipping acceptable as an alternative to irradiation? I thought I read somewhere it was… can’t remember where now…


I think people are reluctant to make public infestations as some responses are not always kind? If we remove the stigma of having these things happen then there may be more transparency.


AFB is heat & cold resistant. The only recognised treatment of material is irradiation.


Yeah because us Flow hivers are such an irresponsible bunch aren’t we?
Opposed to the do good traditional beeks…
Personally I hope all bee keepers do the responsible thing, register their hives and report when required.


I know a few flow hivers who are unregistered, actually more than registered ones. And neither of them would know what AFB looks like. There we go.
Is there a hive police?


Yes there is a hive police. Here in the west it is an offence not to register hives with the agriculture dept. I know a couple of traditional beeks who refuse to register their hives and every time I see them I needle them to do the right thing and will continue to do so until they break. Would I dob them in? Probably not although It’s only a few dollars per hive per year after the first registration and if any diseases are found in the area you are notified.
Registering with the council however is a different story. :wink:


I remember where I read it now:

“New Zealand apiarists have used hot wax dipping to sterilise hive parts contaminated with American foulbrood spores (Paenibacillus larvae) for over 30 years. Experience showed that the process was effective. However, it was not until 1998 that Goodwin and Haine conducted research and proved that hot wax dipping, when used correctly, would render all AFB spores non-viable.”



In Victoria you must burn or irradiate. I would rather have the option of HW dipping though if needed


Considering I have my own wax dipper so do I! I hope more never to get AFB of course- but-

If I do I’ll be contacting the relevant authorities and advocating wax dipping as a viable alternative. I can’t see spores surviving 10 minutes immersed in boiling wax at 150C- very few things on earth could survive that (if any?)- that’s extremophile territory or beyond


I suppose though that it is more difficult to ensure done to correctly?