Beekeepers issue infection warning
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.