Honey bee pests and diseases

As a registered beekeeper, you are legally required to notify Agriculture Victoria if you know of or suspect the presence of the following pests and diseases.

Watch this informative and professional video on how to recognise and deal with honey bee diseases. Learn more by following the links to the Identification of Honey Bee Diseases and Honey Bee Brood Diseases videos.

The most common honey bee pests and diseases
  • Small Hive Beetle – a beekeeping pest
  • American Foulbrood (AFB) disease
  • European Foulbrood disease
  • Honey Bee Brood Diseases
  • Exotic Honey Bee Parasites
  • Nosema Disease of Honey Bees
  • Wax moth – a beekeeping pest
  • Varroa mite
  • Chalkbrood disease

To deal with some of the most common honey bee pests and diseases, you may introduce to your colony a very popular Apiguard treatment.

To get more information about pesticides and honey bee poisoning topic, please visit agriculture.vic.gov.au.

Good colony management practices

As often as possible, the frames of a bee colony should be inspected and replaced with new frames and a beeswax foundation. This is even more necessary if you suspect of disease in a comb. With new combs (with a new beeswax foundation), there is a reduced chance of spreading Chalkbrood disease spores.

Before the new season, it is the best time to clean your frames, boxes, bottom board, and lids. This is how I stop and neutralise any possibility of spreading some common diseases like Chalkbrood and eliminate the possibility of spreading pests like moths and small hive beetles into a new colony.

The beehive frames and comb left from the previous season could be easily treated, eliminating small hive beetle eggs. To kill the eggs of small hive beetles, moths, and other pests, freeze the frames with combs for at least 24 hours at low temperatures. The temperature needs to be very low. Temperature below -20C degrees is required for this routine to work well.

You can also recycle the boxes that are almost new and in excellent condition. This is how I do it.

  1. Send off the layer of wood from the internal sides of the box.
  2. If necessary you can use a professional blowtorch for corners and hard-to-reach places.
  3. Get a large container, add to water and bleach. Use 30 litres of water with 1 litre of bleach.
  4. Place all hive components, frames with come, box, bottom board and lid and leave it overnight.
  5. Next day all components should look new, then rinse it with clean water and let it dry.
Barrier Management System

The pests and diseases are spread between hives and apiaries by transferring infected materials and contaminated equipment.

The barrier management system is used to separate hives or apiaries into different units. This prevents the interchange of honey bees, combs, honey and hive components from one unit (hive, loads of hives or apiary).

You can read more at the beeaware.org.au website.

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