Calls to help rid city of bee dis­ease

Hamilton News - - COMMUNITY -

The Waikato Do­mes­tic Bee As­so­ci­a­tion (WDBA) is call­ing on all Hamil­ton bee­keep­ers to help rid the city of the hive-de­stroy­ing Amer­i­can Foul­brood Dis­ease (AFB).

An AFB in­fec­tion causes death of the honey bee (Apis mel­lif­era) lar­vae. The dis­ease is in al­most all coun­tries where honey bees are found.

The AFB bac­terium pro­duces re­sis­tant, longlived spores and an in­fected bee­hive will usu­ally be killed by the dis­ease.

The in­fec­tion can be present in a bee­hive but not ini­tially vis­i­ble so the dis­ease is eas­ily spread by in­ter­chang­ing equip­ment, di­vid­ing or sell­ing hives.

AFB spores can sur­vive more than 35 years and with­stand boil­ing wa­ter and are re­sis­tant to a range of dis­in­fec­tants.

Bee­keep­ers who find AFB in one of their hives must no­tify the AFB Pest Man­age­ment Agency within seven days and de­stroy the in­fected hive to pre­vent in­fec­tion spread­ing.

This in­cludes killing the bees, then burn­ing all parts of the hive as well as any honey. The as­so­ci­a­tion aims to make Hamil­ton the first Afb-free city in New Zealand.

The pro­gramme in­volves us­ing a new di­ag­nos­tic tool to test all hives in Hamil­ton this year as an an­nual event to clear the city and en­sure it stays free of AFB.

Sam­ples of bees from hives in the city will be tested for AFB us­ing DNA test­ing to iden­tify the dis­ease be­fore it can be de­tected vis­ually.

“We would like to hear from all bee­keep­ers in Hamil­ton city to ar­range a small sam­ple of 30 bees from the brood frames of each hive for test­ing. Col­lec­tion dates in­clude Thurs­day Novem­ber 15, Satur­day 17 and Sun­day 18,” says WDBA com­mit­tee mem­ber Teresa Gib­bi­son.

“As­sis­tance will be pro­vided where re­quired and to help bee­keep­ers with in­fected hives. We also need in­for­ma­tion from the pub­lic about any feral hives in the city that may be liv­ing in holes in trees or build­ings.”

Photo / Sup­plied

Bees hives be­ing checked dur­ing a bee keep­ing club day.

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