An outbreak of European Foul Brood within our association boundaries means that there are extra concerns and a need for thorough and careful checking of our bees and frames. Vigilance and quick reactions contained the outbreak, but the association would urge everyone to be on the lookout and report anything suspicious to the Regional Bee Inspector, Alan Byham, to be checked out. It is also very important to ensure that hygiene with hive tools and clothing is maintained, especially when visiting other apiaries. Disease is easily passed to and fro unless good hygiene is observed.
Fact sheet 6 – ‘Apiary Hygiene and Quarantine’ from the National Bee Unit gives the following guidelines:
Gloves. If you wear gloves to examine bees avoid those made of leather and use washing up gloves or similar. They are easy to wash off between colony examinations and are cheap to replace when the time comes. Also they give better ‘feel’ and make jarring the bees less of a problem.
Hive Tool. Wash your hive tool off between examinations. Use a solution of washing soda. It is cheap, dissolves propolis and also has anti-bacterial in properties.
Smoker. These are difficult to clean. However the barrel is not a problem as it gets hot enough to kill disease pathogens. The bellows can be scrubbed off using a washing soda solution.
Bee Suit. Though the risk of disease spread by a dirty bee suit is low they should be washed regularly. If nothing else it removes the pheromone left after a bee has stung the material thus reducing the risk of encouraging stings.
Sharing items between Apiary sites increases the risk of transference of disease. To read the full Fact Sheet please go to the Bee Base Website