More than 1000 bee hives destroyed at Corindi
AUTHORITES have destroyed approximately 1500 bee hives at Corindi after detecting an outbreak of a fatal and incurable brood disease.
The NSW Department of Primary Industry (DPI) detected the outbreak of American foulbrood (AFB) as part of their routine inspections and has been working with the bee-keeper since October 2018 to eradicate the disease.
It is a highly contagious fatal disease of European honey bees (Apis mellifera) and is present in Australia.
The disease is not able to be cured, which means that destruction of infected colonies and hives or irradiation of infected material is the only way to manage it. Hives are usually burnt.
"A single infected hive can quickly infect nearby hives as healthy bees rob out the contaminated honey. As more and more hives contract the disease, the cycle perpetuates leading to serious outbreaks that can impact entire regions," a DPI spokesperson said.
"Any hive can contract AFB and the disease can decimate an apiary."
The Biosecurity Act 2015 outlines the framework for managing the risk of serious communicable diseases entering Australia and of them emerging or spreading within Australia.
In the case of the Corindi outbreak a 'Biosecutiry Undertaking' under Section 142 of the Act has been entered into with the bee keeper and approximately 1500 hives destroyed.
"AFB spores are spread in contaminated honey and apiary products, hive parts and equipment. Robbing out of weak hives is a key means of spread," the spokesperson said.
It is caused by a spore-forming bacteria, which is visible only under a high power microscope.
Larvae up to three days old become infected by ingesting spores that are present in their food.
Young larvae less than 24 hours old are most susceptible to infection.
Registration with the NSW DPI is compulsory for all people who keep honey bees (Apis mellifera) in NSW, even if it's just one hive.
Beekeepers have a duty to notify within one working day of becoming aware of the presence or suspected presence of either American foulbrood, European foulbrood, nosemosis, small hive beetle, or chalkbrood.
Because of the persistence of the spores (which can survive up to 40 years) hives usually have to be burnt.