Sacbrood disease of bees

Page last updated: Friday, 9 December 2016 - 2:10pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Sacbrood, a disease of honey bees in many parts of the world, has been identified in hives and apiaries in Western Australia since 1979.

The severity of infection can vary in some hives from a few cells per frame to 90% of the brood. The number of colonies infected in an apiary may range from 0 to 100%. The level of infection has declined since it was first detected and the disease no longer causes an economic impact on the industry.

Sacbrood can occasionally be found at very low levels and only manifests itself when bees are under stress.

Sacbrood disease

Some research workers thought that sacbrood virus, in combination with bacteria, caused European foulbrood disease. However, in 1912 it was shown that sacbrood virus was not associated with European foulbrood disease.

Because of similarities in appearance between sacbrood disease, European foulbrood disease and American foulbrood disease, it is necessary for beekeepers to recognise the different signs of these diseases.


Contact information

Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS)
+61 (0)8 9368 3080


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