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The Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice - Part 2 - Exposure of bees to pests and disease

08 May 2017 7:21 AM | Jackie Campbell
Following on from Section 1 -  'Good Bio-security' and "Training and Planning' the Code continues with expectations around pests and disease. 

The Code states that "Exposure of bees to pests and diseases should be minimised. This can be achieved through maintaining strong bee colonies to prevent robbing of hives.  Bees, feed and equipment should only be obtained from a reliable and reputable source. Introduced bees should be segregated (quarantined) and tested pre-purchase or post-arrival to ensure freedom from disease. Second-hand equipment should be sterilised before introduction. Beekeepers must not allow other bees to access honey from their hives on plant and equipment."
As part of this management process the Code requires the following of all Beekeepers

1. Beekeepers Must Be Registered 
- It is essential that there is an up to date register of beekeepers and their contact details so they can be notified quickly in the event of an emergency disease or natural disaster. It is also important that up to date information on the number of hives and beekeepers present in each state and territory of Australia is available to inform decisions on disease control and eradication.

2. Beekeepers Must Report Notifiable Diseases - The prompt reporting of notifiable diseases is essential for control and eradication. Notifiable diseases include:
  • Africanised bees
  • American foulbrood disease
  • Braula fly (Braula coeca)
  • European foulbrood disease (not currently identified in WA)
  • Nosema (Nosema apis)
  • Small hive beetle (Aethina tumida) (not currently identified in WA)
  • Tracheal mite (Acarapis woodi)
  • Tropilaelaps mite (Tropilaelaps clarae)
  • Varroa mite (Varroa destructor and Varroa jacobsoni) (not currently identified in WA)
the BeeAware website has excellent information to assist beekeepers with the identification of these diseases and pests; the Dept. of Agriculture and Food (WA) is also a valuable resource. 

3. Hives Must be Regularly Inspected for Pests and Diseases - The Code requires beekeepers to inspect their hives at least twice per year and keep accurate records of their finding. This is the minimum requirement for good bee husbandry and beekeepers are encouraged to inspect more frequently. 

If you are at all unsure of what this all means to you as a hobbyist beekeeper then please ensure that you speak with one of the many experienced beekeepers within the WASS network, register for one or more of the training offered and ensure that you look after your bees so they can, in turn, look after us.      

Next issue - Control or eradicate of pests and diseases and Management of weak hives.

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