American foulbrood (AFB) disease is the most serious brood disease of bees in NSW. It is caused by the bacterium Paenibacillus larvae. In Australia, it has been found in all states. It is a disease of economic importance to the individual beekeeper and to the bee industry, as infection may lead to serious economic loss through the destruction of colonies and loss of production.
It is a notifiable disease under the NSW Apiaries Act 1985. There is a persistent low level of infection in NSW. Early and accurate diagnosis is essential if control is to be effective.