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Geraldton seminar to provide the latest buzz on bee disease

Released on

Released on:
Friday, 1. October 2021 - 10:00

Beekeepers will be able to find out about the latest developments in biosecurity surveillance and research at a seminar to be held in Geraldton this month.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) and Central Regional TAFE WA will host the Geraldton Beekeeping and American foulbrood workshop on 12 October, which will have a particular focus on the bee disease American foulbrood.

Department project officer Jessica Moran, who is completing a PhD on the disease, will discuss the biology of American foulbrood, how to detect the disease and what to do in the event of an outbreak.

American foulbrood, commonly referred to as AFB, is a bacterial disease of honey bee larvae, transmitted via spores.

“American foulbrood is a significant, endemic disease in Australia that affects both commercial and recreational beekeepers throughout WA,” she said.

“The disease is fatal to honey bee colonies, easily transmitted and is incredibly persistent, as spores can survive for more than 50 years.”

The seminar will explore the Australian Honey Bee Biosecurity Code of Practice, which provides a framework to reduce the risk of diseases, like American foulbrood, and measures to prevent the introduction and to control the spread to other apiaries.

Ms Moran said it was important for beekeepers to monitor hives for signs of American foulbrood and to report any unusual observations to DPIRD immediately.

“Beekeepers should keep an eye out for irregular or patchy brood patterns, sunken and greasy-looking cappings and brown, dead larvae that ‘rope out’ when probed,” she said.

“It is important to report any suspect observations as soon as possible, as an early detection aids an effective response.

“Unfortunately, there is no cure for American foulbrood so immediate action is required to stop infections from spreading.

“It is essential industry to work together and encourage reporting so we can keep outbreaks to a minimum.” 

The Geraldton Beekeeping and American foulbrood workshop will be held on Tuesday, 12 October at 6pm at the Central Regional TAFE – Batavia Coast Maritime Institute. For more information or to RSVP email kate.murphy@crtafe.wa.edu.au.

To report any suspect symptoms of American foulbrood email PBhoney@dpird.wa.gov.au or contact DPIRD’s Pest and Disease Information Service on +61 (0)8 9368 3080, email padis@dpird.wa.gov.au or use the MyPestGuide Reporter app.

A women with a netted bee hat on checking a bee frame.
DPIRD project officer Jessica Moran will be delivering a workshop on the disease American foulbrood to beekeepers in Geraldton this month.

Media contacts:

Megan Broad/Katrina Bowers, media liaison                        

+61 (0)8 9368 3937