American Foulbrood disease in Wales

Disease workshop 2012

Healthy Bees Day at Henfaes, hosted by Conwy Beekeepers.  Pics by Barry Griffiths.

You may have seen the scary BBC Wales piece Welsh Bees threatened by deadly disease American Foulbrood.  Click here

AFB has been reported in Conwy Beekeepers’ area just a few times in the last 40 years.  All of the cases were confined to single apiaries.  The most recent case (several years ago) was the result of a beekeeper bringing infected equipment into our area.  AFB spores will survive for many years on old combs or hive parts.

We want to keep our area free of American Foulbrood.
Here’s how you can help…

  • Our Bee Inspectors provide an excellent service.  Call them in if you have any concerns about the health of your bees.
  • Learn how to recognize AFB and be vigilant.
  • Work to the same hygiene standards as your Seasonal Bee Inspector.
  • Always wear clean protective clothing, and use a clean hive tool and a clean smoker.  Use washing soda solution to clean your tools.
  • Replace old brood combs every two or three years, and burn the old combs.
  • Any bits of wild comb or hive scrapings should be taken away from the apiary in a marked container, and burned or melted down.
  • Blowlamp wooden hive parts before reuse.
  • No spare equipment to be left lying around the apiary.
  • Keep the apiary tidy, with no obvious hazards.  It’s your workplace.
  • Don’t buy secondhand bee equipment from auction websites.  That’s a surefire way to spread diseases.
  • Don’t buy or sell or give away old drawn combs.   Burn them.
  • Use locally raised bees.  Don’t buy bees from unknown suppliers.
  • Never feed bees with shop-bought honey, even a hungry bee on the windowsill.  Use sugar syrup.  Foulbrood spores can live in honey, and may be present in imported honey.
  • Try to prevent robbing.  It’s much easier than trying to stop it.  Robbing bees can spread diseases.
  • Support Conwy Beekeepers’ apiary training sessions and meetings.
  • Always try to learn more, and share your experience
  • Click here to download the National Bee Unit booklet on Foulbrood disease of Honey Bees.  Printed copies are available.