Bee Health Threats - Amazing Bees | Beekeeper Section

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Bee Health
Bee Health Threats
What might come as a surprise to new hobby beekeepers is the realisation that bees are being threatened by diseases, pests and parasites.

Regular monitoring of beehives for health issues is a vital element of successful beekeeping.

It is important to recognise what is troubling the bees to be able to take measures against it and avoid spreading of diseases to other hives.

The discovery that something is wrong with your bees can be quite disheartening for a beekeeper.
Early and correct diagnosis is important to minimise the damage and for peace of mind.

Please note that in their dormant form almost all honeybee diseases can exist in any hive, or are just waiting outside.

However, a strong and vigorous bee colony does not easily get affected.
It is only when the colony weakens when health threats become an issue.

Struggling for Help?
Numerous articles have been published describing bee diseases. However, when your bees are affected, time is of essence and the search for useful answers can take quite some time. There is no single publication that has all the answers and after having read through a few every new beekeeper is left with unanswered questions and some doubt, and maybe some element of confusion as well.   

When you are lucky you can find help from a more experienced beekeeper who has got the time to assist you when you need it most.  

With this section on our website we want to assist new beekeepers in their struggle by consolidating the information available, hereby streamlining the search for help.

Agriculture Victoria has published information about Bee pests and diseases

AG1100 Beekeeping and the Livestock Disease Control Act 1994 provides the legal basis for monitoring and control of bee diseases in Victoria.

Comprehensive and useful references are Wikipedia's Diseases of the honey bee or this link to Beekeeping Wikia Diseases of the honey bee

The following publications by Agriculture Victoria are of assistance:

AG0990 - A Guide to the Field Diagnosis of Honey Bee Brood Diseases - a field guide for apiarists to identify the four important brood diseases: American foulbrood, European foulbrood, chalkbrood and sacbrood.

AG1076 - Field Diagnosis of Exotic Honey Bee Parasites - provides information for beekeepers about exotic honey bee parasites and pests that are a serious threat to Australian honey bee colonies kept by commercial and hobby beekeepers.

AG1249 - Samples for laboratory diagnosis of bee diseases - provides information on how beekeepers can prepare and submit samples for laboratory diagnosis of American foulbrood, European foulbrood and nosema in honey bees.

Diseases that must be notified
To prevent diseases from spreading, certain diseases and health issues need to be notified. The objective is not to 'punish' beekeepers, but providing assistance.

AG0763 - Which diseases of bees must be notified - provides information on which honey bee diseases must be reported and how to do this.

Other Useful Links
A resourceful library of on-line information by the NSW Department of Primary Industries is: Pests and diseases of honeybees

As well as this contribution by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries in Queensland: Bee Diseases and pests

BeeAware - a hub of information for Australian beekeepers and growers about honey bee biosecurity and pollination of agricultural and horticultural crops.

Honey Bee Compensation and Industry Development Fund
Beekeepers may be eligible to receive compensation if their bees and/or hives are destroyed or sterilised due to infection by the honey bee brood disease, American foulbrood (AFB).

Compensation for loss due to AFB is not payable to an unregistered beekeeper or to a beekeeper who failed to notify the presence of field signs of AFB in his or her hives to a DEDJTR inspector.

Compensation is paid from the Honey Bee Compensation and Industry Development Fund. The money in the fund is derived from registration fees paid by beekeepers. The first step is to recognise what the problem is and as part of this process you might have to send in a sample for diagnosis.

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