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Monday, 19 July 2010

Honey bee larva disease American Foulbrood found in West Lothian

As many people will know, this is an issue close to my heart, saving the bees is important for so many reasons including supporting the food chain, so seeing this story on the BBC website and The Scotsman just reinforces why our bees should be protected.

I have blogged before about bees - The Queen has a vigorous sex life and The plight of the honeybee.

An outbreak of American Foulbrood, which kills off honey bee larva, has been discovered in West Lothian.
The disease was found at an apiary by a Scottish government bee inspector.

A 5km infected area has been declared around the apiary, which is located between Linlithgow and Kirkliston. Inspections will be carried out on other apiaries in the area.

The movement of bees and related equipment is prohibited, except under licence from the Scottish government.


There were outbreaks of American Foulbrood (AFB) and European Foulbrood (EFB) in Scotland in 2009.

In February this year an AFB outbreak was found in a hive in the Stranraer area.

The latest infected area extends from the Forth in the north to Uphall and Broxburn in the south, and from Linlithgow in the west to between Winchburgh and Kirkliston in the east.

A spokesman for the Scottish government said: "Hives with American Foulbrood (AFB) must be destroyed as there is no known treatment. There are no risks to public health from AFB and no implications for the quality and safety of honey.

"AFB is highly contagious and difficult to eradicate."

Beekeepers are urged to check their hives and notify any suspicion of disease to BeesMailbox@scotland.gsi.gov.uk.

In June experts said three of the UK's 25 bumblebee species had gone extinct, while half had suffered declines of up to 70%.

Last month Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead announced a 10-year strategy to help protect honey bees, after the population dropped by a third in the winter of 2008-09.

Phil McAnespie, vice-president of the Scottish Beekeepers' Association, said: "This AFB outbreak will be very concerning to small businesses in Scotland which produce honey, and also to individuals who keep bees. It is like a form of 'foot and mouth' for bees.

"Their hives will have to be destroyed, and restocking and rebuilding a business takes time and money."
Mr McAnespie said before last year's outbreak of AFB and EFB, the disease had been seen by many in Scotland as mainly affecting hives in England.

"In England, there were inspectors on the ground all the time and AFB and EFB were found sporadically every year. The inspectors we had in Scotland were there in name only and were employed in other animal husbandry such as cattle, so the disease was not being picked up here," Mr McAnespie said.

"Since last year's outbreaks, the Scottish Government have identified the situation and the inspectors have had a steep learning curve."

It is estimated insect pollinators contribute £440 million to the UK economy through their role in fertilising crops.

1 comment:

J. C. said...

one of the best blogs I've read

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