AFB Awareness month

Held every October, AFB Awareness Month aims to:

  • highlight awareness of American foulbrood, its impacts and best management practices
  • encourage beekeepers to inspect their hives for signs of the disease
  • promote reporting of the disease to NSW DPI.

The campaign targets beekeepers and is a joint initiative between NSW DPI and the Amateur Beekeepers Association NSW, the North Shore Beekeepers Association, NSW Apiarists' Association and Steritech.

American Foulbrood

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 (PDF, 673.14 KB) 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.

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.

Own more than 50 hives?

If you own more than 50 hives, testing of pooled honey samples for AFB is a requirement under the Bee Biosecurity Code of Practice. If results are positive for AFB spores, you should do a thorough inspection of your hives and test samples of diseased brood.

Moving hives into NSW?

You can only bring in bees and hives into NSW if they are not contaminated with AFB.  These restrictions apply to all beekeepers and anyone dealing with bees and beekeeping equipment entering NSW. If your hives are diagnosed with AFB, or are suspected to have AFB, you can’t bring them into NSW.

If you suspect that your hives are contaminated with AFB, then you must:

  1. Euthanise the bees.
  2. Make the hive and its components bee proof (to prevent robbing) before bringing them into NSW.
  3. The infected hive and its components must be treated with irradiation or hot wax dipping before exposing to bees again

For further information, see the group permit (PDF, 1712.67 KB).

More information