AFB Awareness month

American foulbrood (AFB) is a fatal and incurable brood disease​ of European honey bees (Apis mellifera). AFB is present in Australia. Any hive can contract AFB and the disease can decimate an apiary. AFB spores are spread in contaminated honey and apiary products, hive parts and equipment. Robbing out of weak hives is a key means of spread. A single infected hive can quickly infect nearby hives as healthy bees rob out the contaminated honey. As more and more hives contract the disease, the cycle perpetuates leading to serious outbreaks that can impact entire regions.

AFB Awareness Month is a joint initiative between NSW DPI and the Amateur Beekeepers Association NSW​, the North Shore Beekeepers Association, NSW Apiarists' Association and Steritech. The aim is to highlight awareness of AFB and promote best management practices.

  • More information about AFB

​If you keep honey bees, inspect ​your hives in October!

1. Inspect

For more information on how to inspect your hive, see the Fact sheet (PDF, 171.47 KB) or watch a video.

2. Test

You can test for AFB by preparing a slide (PDF, 318.08 KB) and sending it, along with a submission form for diagnosis to:

NSW DPI Laboratory Services

Courier address:
Woodbridge Road,
Menangle NSW 2568

Postal address:
Private Bag 4008, Narellan NSW 2567

Phone: 1800 675 623
Email: laboratory.services@dpi.nsw.gov.au

You can also use a field diagnostic AFB test kit.These are available at  beekeeping suppliers. Special thanks to Col Wilson of Hunter Valley Apiaries who generously supplied AFB test kits as part of AFB Awareness Month.

3. Notify

It is a legislative requirement to report AFB to NSW DPI within one working day.

4. Act​

If you have AFB, you must:

  • kill the bees in the affected hive, and
  • destroy the affected hives by burning, or
  • treat the hives by hot wax dip, or
  • irradiate the affected hives and frames.

For more information about irradiation, refer to the Steritech website.

More information