Bee­keep­ers is­sue in­fec­tion warn­ing

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS -

BEE­KEEP­ERS across the coun­try are be­ing ad­vised to re­main vig­i­lant af­ter an out­break of Amer­i­can Foul­brood (AFB) was iden­ti­fied in East Cork last week.

AFB is an in­fec­tious, no­ti­fi­able dis­ease of honey bee lar­vae and pu­pae. In­fected bee colonies slowly be­come weak and die.

Lab test­ing is nec­es­sary for de­fin­i­tive di­ag­no­sis, but a good field test is to touch a dead larva with a tooth­pick or twig. It will be sticky and “ropey”. Foul­brood also has a char­ac­ter­is­tic odour, and ex­pe­ri­enced bee­keep­ers can of­ten de­tect the dis­ease upon open­ing a hive.

“It is highly con­ta­gious and sadly there is no cure,” com­mented Eleanor At­tridge, Bee Health Of­fi­cer with the Fed­er­a­tion of Ir­ish Bee­keep­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tions.

“Now that the weather is im­prov­ing slightly bee­keep­ers are start­ing to open hives.” Two hives in Cork were found to be in­fected. “Bees in an in­fected hive will die but if oth­ers in­vade the hive be­fore it is cleaned out and dis­in­fected, they will spread it fur­ther,” she added.

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