Protecting bees to protect plants


Bees in the Northern Territory (NT) have come under threat from American foulbrood (AFB), an infectious and fatal disease of honey bee larvae.

First detected in Alice Springs in late 2019, a second case in Alice Springs has been detected this month in a hobby beekeeper hive.

Since the detection, the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade (DITT) has actively managed this disease in the NT by destroying hives that have tested positive; broad surveillance of commercial apiaries to confirm that the disease has not spread more widely and beekeeper training on appropriate hygiene practices, early detection and reporting.

Bees play a critical role in providing pollination services. Unmanaged, the AFB incursion will rapidly spread to healthy hives which will result in the death of colonies and affect the local honey bee and beekeeping industry. The Territory’s horticultural and agricultural industries will also be impacted as the number of available healthy hives for pollination services will be greatly reduced.

To protect these important industries, beekeepers and owners should:

  • register the location of their hive with a property identification code
  • know the signs of AFB and how to report it
  • regularly inspect their hives for signs of AFB
  • know how to prevent it from spreading within your apiary and to other apiaries.

The Northern Territory Government is committed to protecting our industry and our natural environment through the early detection and rapid response to biosecurity incidents and threats.

The International Year Plant Health aims to raise awareness of plant protection to reduce the amount of food crops that are lost due to plant pests.

More information is available on the NT Government website.

Bee Keeper

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