Foulbrood levels in Gisborne 'static'

EXPERTS have assured American foulbrood (AFB) levels in Gisborne are static following claims Hastings is on the verge of a major outbreak.

This week the chairman of Apiculture New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay hub John Berry said there had been a “major AFB outbreak” in the greater Hastings area.

He warned Hawke’s Bay beekeepers to be vigilant after 66 cases of the disease was confirmed there over the past three months.

National compliance manager of the AFB National Pest Management Plan Clifton King said 25 cases had been reported in the Gisborne region in the last three months.

“The prevalence appears to be static,” Mr King said.

“In general the risk in Gisborne is much lower than the Hawke’s Bay, as there is not the same amount of pollen.”

While there had a been a little more found in Hawke’s Bay than usual, he said it was unlikely there would be an outbreak.

“We have no information to suggest they are on the verge of a major outbreak.”

However, beekeepers still needed to remain vigilant.

“Beekeepers need to be on the lookout for AFB, and regularly inspect their brood.

“If it is picked up early and the infected hive it burned it can stop it spreading to other hives.

“But if the hives are not inspected regularly beekeepers risk spreading the disease. It is really important.”

AFB is a disease of honey bee larvae and pupae. It is caused by the bacteria Paenibacillus larvae, which infects food fed to bee larvae while they develop in hive cells.

The larvae are transmitted into the gut of developing bees, killing them just before they are fully grown.

The disease can spread quickly through the exchange of equipment and movement of infected combs.

It is the most serious honey bee disease in New Zealand and, unlike many other countries, beekeepers here are prohibited from using antibiotics to control it.

If it is found the hive must be burned to reduce the spread of disease and destruction of colonies.

Gisborne beekeeper Barry Foster said 66 cases in the past three months in Hawke’s Bay was a lot, especially as that was what they knew about.

“A lot goes unreported.”

But as long as beekeepers were responsible it could be contained.

“AFB has been in New Zealand since the first beehive arrived in early 19th century.

“We have some problems in Gisborne, but no different to other areas.”

It would only be a major problem if beekeepers did not get onto it.

“It is important all beekeepers know how to check for AFB when checking the brood, and that if they find it, they destroy the hive.”

More hobby beekeepers increased the risk.

“Hobby beekeepers need to make sure they know how to check for AFB. It can be spread by bees themselves through pollen and honey, if they move around hives, and beekeepers can spread it between their hives themselves.

“It's highly infectious.”

Figures from Apiculture New Zealand show the number of hives in New Zealand has nearly tripled since 1998, with 811,357 being registered at June this year.

Over the same period the value of honey exports had risen from $10 million in 1998 to $36m in 2007, and $317m in 2017.

EXPERTS have assured American foulbrood (AFB) levels in Gisborne are static following claims Hastings is on the verge of a major outbreak.

This week the chairman of Apiculture New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay hub John Berry said there had been a “major AFB outbreak” in the greater Hastings area.

He warned Hawke’s Bay beekeepers to be vigilant after 66 cases of the disease was confirmed there over the past three months.

National compliance manager of the AFB National Pest Management Plan Clifton King said 25 cases had been reported in the Gisborne region in the last three months.

“The prevalence appears to be static,” Mr King said.

“In general the risk in Gisborne is much lower than the Hawke’s Bay, as there is not the same amount of pollen.”

While there had a been a little more found in Hawke’s Bay than usual, he said it was unlikely there would be an outbreak.

“We have no information to suggest they are on the verge of a major outbreak.”

However, beekeepers still needed to remain vigilant.

“Beekeepers need to be on the lookout for AFB, and regularly inspect their brood.

“If it is picked up early and the infected hive it burned it can stop it spreading to other hives.

“But if the hives are not inspected regularly beekeepers risk spreading the disease. It is really important.”

AFB is a disease of honey bee larvae and pupae. It is caused by the bacteria Paenibacillus larvae, which infects food fed to bee larvae while they develop in hive cells.

The larvae are transmitted into the gut of developing bees, killing them just before they are fully grown.

The disease can spread quickly through the exchange of equipment and movement of infected combs.

It is the most serious honey bee disease in New Zealand and, unlike many other countries, beekeepers here are prohibited from using antibiotics to control it.

If it is found the hive must be burned to reduce the spread of disease and destruction of colonies.

Gisborne beekeeper Barry Foster said 66 cases in the past three months in Hawke’s Bay was a lot, especially as that was what they knew about.

“A lot goes unreported.”

But as long as beekeepers were responsible it could be contained.

“AFB has been in New Zealand since the first beehive arrived in early 19th century.

“We have some problems in Gisborne, but no different to other areas.”

It would only be a major problem if beekeepers did not get onto it.

“It is important all beekeepers know how to check for AFB when checking the brood, and that if they find it, they destroy the hive.”

More hobby beekeepers increased the risk.

“Hobby beekeepers need to make sure they know how to check for AFB. It can be spread by bees themselves through pollen and honey, if they move around hives, and beekeepers can spread it between their hives themselves.

“It's highly infectious.”

Figures from Apiculture New Zealand show the number of hives in New Zealand has nearly tripled since 1998, with 811,357 being registered at June this year.

Over the same period the value of honey exports had risen from $10 million in 1998 to $36m in 2007, and $317m in 2017.

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