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The Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice - Section 4 - Exposure of bees to pests and disease

11 May 2017 7:40 AM | Jackie Campbell
Following on from Section 3 -  'Exposure of bees to pests and diseases' we move to our next installment -  the 'Control and Eradication of pest and disease' and the management of weak hives. 

Section 4 of the Code - "Beekeepers Must Control or Eradicate Pests and Diseases and Must Manage Weak Hives" If a beekeeper finds a pest or disease in a hive they must take appropriate steps to manage its impact on the infected hive(s) and to prevent its spread to other hives.  Robber bees provide a major pathway for the spread of infectious diseases so maintaining strong hives is an important preventative measure.   If the pest or disease is a notifiable disease it must be reported to the relevant authority and controlled and/or eradicated in accordance with state or territory legislation 
As part of this management process, the Code requires the following of all Beekeepers

4.1. A beekeeper must take all reasonable actions required to minimise the likelihood that a pest or disease detected in their hive will either weaken the hive or be transferred to another hive

4.2 Any weak hive must be managed to ensure that it does not become attractive to robber bees

4.3 Any dead hive or any hive with insufficient bees to prevent robbing by other bees must be immediately removed from the apiary and/or managed in a way that prevents robbing and renders the hive and any honey that may leak from the hive impervious to robber bees. 

4.4 If a beekeeper identifies American foul-brood in a hive they must, after the field bees have returned to the hive, immediately isolate the affected hive and any contaminated appliances and take steps to prevent the risk of spread of disease from the hive.  This includes: 

          (a) Destruction of all bees in the hive, and  
          (b) rendering and maintaining the hive and appliances bee-proof until they are cleaned, sterilised or destroyed as appropriate.  In this context “bee-proof” means eliminating bee access to the affected appliances, hive and hive contents including honey that may leak from the hive.   

4.5  If it is not reasonable to immediately implement the steps in 4.4 and the hive is not in danger of being robbed, they must be completed within seven (7) days.

4.6 A beekeeper must eliminate American foul-brood from an infected hive by sterilisation or destruction as soon as is reasonable but, in any case, before sale or reuse of the hive. 

American foul-brood (AFB) is the most significant bee disease already present in Australia and it can have a devastating impact on individual apiaries.  If AFB is detected, a beekeeper is required to take action to bee-proof the infected hive(s) and to destroy or sterilise the hive(s) as soon as practicable.  Elimination of AFB is part of good beekeeping and no compensation will be payable to the beekeeper for hives destroyed due to AFB infection unless an industry-funded compensation scheme is in effect in that state or territory.  

Because antibiotics do not kill AFB spores but may mask the symptoms of the disease, their use to control AFB is prohibited.

If you are unsure of what you are seeing when you complete your hive inspections - please find out... contact one of the members of the WAAS Committee, ask the question through our FaceBook page and / or - Ask Dr Google... the following web sites have some very useful information and pictures....

Bee Informed - What's is that smell? - American Foul Brood!
Agriculture Victoria Diagnosis of American Foul Brood 
BeeAware - American Foul Brood

Next issue - Records of Biosecurity-related actions and Observations

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