News

American Foulbrood detected on Kangaroo Island

Tuesday 26 May 2020

Beekeepers are being asked to remain vigilant following a single detection of American Foulbrood (AFB) in hives on Kangaroo Island.


AFB is a notifiable bacterial disease that kills honeybee brood, resulting in the weakening and eventual death of affected hives.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the detection follows testing of honey from a Kangaroo Island-based beekeeper as part of annual registration.

"It is a timely reminder to all visitors that there are significant biosecurity restrictions on what can be taken onto the island in order to protect the unique Ligurian honeybee," said Minister Whetstone.

"These restrictions include a ban on all bee products (including honey and wax), beehives, bees, beehive material and equipment being introduced onto the Island.

"Biosecurity officers are already on the ground working closely with Kangaroo Island’s 50 registered beekeepers to investigate the source of the infection and eradicate it.

"Good bee biosecurity is not only crucial to the honeybee industry but also for the agricultural and horticultural sectors that are dependent on honeybee pollination.

"It is therefore vital that anyone keeping hives, whether a commercial or backyard keeper, maintain an effective honeybee biosecurity program and ensure their hive registrations are up to date.

"Signage and amnesty bins are placed at Kangaroo Island entry points, advisories are provided to travellers and inspections of vehicles occurs prior to boarding the ferry at Cape Jervis."

South Australian Apiary Association (SAAA) President Josh Kennett said the association will be working closely with PIRSA to ensure the swift eradication of AFB from Kangaroo Island.

"We urge all local beekeepers to work together with PIRSA Biosecurity Apiary Inspectors, to be aware of the symptoms and thoroughly inspect their hives for disease," said Mr Kennett.

"All beekeepers need to pull together so we can catch this outbreak early and ensure the best chance for eradication."

Signs of an AFB infected brood include sunken and/or perforated cappings; discoloured brood (typically light-dark brown and lying on the bottom of the cell); and brood remains that are ropey, or dried scales adhering to the bottom of the cell.

Minister Whetstone said Kangaroo Island is a protected biosecurity zone and a classified honeybee sanctuary.

Further information is available at the PIRSA Office at Kingscote, KI or from www.pir.sa.gov.au/hivemanagement

AFB on Kangaroo Island fact sheet (PDF 364.9 KB)

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