August 14, 2013
Two north coast beekeepers have been fined $550 each for failing to notify the presence of American Foulbrood disease to NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI).
DPI Biosecurity Compliance Unit issued the penalty notices to a Kempsey district beekeeper and a beekeeper from the Lismore area.
“American Foulbrood (AFB) is a disease of economic importance to individual beekeepers and to the bee industry, as infection can lead to serious economic loss through the destruction of colonies and loss of production,” said Mick Rankmore, DPI Regulatory Specialist, Apiaries based at Gunnedah.
“It is a notifiable disease under the NSW Apiaries Act 1985.”
Mr Rankmore said in the cases that led to the $550 fines, AFB-diseased hives were left in apiaries in flight range of other commercial beekeepers’ bees.
“These incidents caused economic hardship to the commercial beekeepers,” he said.
“Hives had to be depopulated, burned, buried or irradiated causing a loss of production and a cost in replacing the bees and the hive material.
“Ongoing inspections are now necessary until at last two clean consecutive inspections are completed six to eight weeks apart.”
Mr Rankmore said the commercial beekeepers reported the AFB that they detected in their own hives to NSW DPI.
“They also submitted an ‘AFB trace back report’ (available at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au) to NSW DPI and this led to the inspection of the two diseased apiaries.
“Beekeepers need to carry out regular inspections of their hives and fix or remove any weak colonies before they die out and are robbed by other bees.
“The cause of weak or dead colonies must be established and appropriate action taken.”
Mr Rankmore said an AFB-affected brood becomes discoloured, turning light brown at first then darker brown as the disease progresses and will dry out to form a flat black scale on the bottom of the cell. Cappings over dead brood cells sink inwards, become moist and can be perforated.
If you become aware of neglected hives you can inform NSW DPI by using an ‘Advice of abandoned, neglected and/or diseased apiary’ form and sending the completed form to Mick Rankmore. The matter will be investigated and appropriate action taken if required.