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Beware of American Foulbrood

South East Local Land Services staff were on hand to give NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Apiary Inspector Liz Yeatman support with disposing of four bee hives infected with American Foulbrood (AFB), the most serious brood disease of honey bees in NSW.

In addition to honey, bees provide billions of dollars worth of pollination services to agriculture and threats to local bee populations are dealt with as a matter of urgency.

The disease was discovered by a local beekeeper inspecting abandoned hives along Bomaderry Creek near Nowra, who immediately notified Ms Yeatman. Once the disease was confirmed, bees were quickly destroyed. Michael Knez, Biosecurity Officer and Peter Pigott, Regional Landcare Facilitator from the Local Land Services office in Berry joined local beekeepers and Ms Yeatman to seal and remove the hives. 

Arrangements had been made to 'deep bury' the infected hives at the local waste processing facility to avoid any spread of the disease.

AFB is caused by the bacterium Paenibacillus larvae and is a notifiable disease under the NSW Apiaries Act 1985. Honey bee colonies should be thoroughly examined for AFB at least twice a year, in spring and autumn and beekeepers should contact their local apiary Regulatory Officer if any abnormalities are discovered.

NSW DPI regulatory officers and South East Local Land Services staff collaborate regularly in addressing biosecurity threats and raising awareness about the importance of biosecurity to agriculture and biodiversity.

More information is available on the DPI website: 

American Foulbrood and how to identify the disease