Bee disease notification page has been launched

Since moving my beekeeping hobby to Canberra I have been disappointed with the availability of bee disease information in the region. Tracking the location, frequency and impact of outbreaks of bee diseases is something I have been talking about over the last couple of years.

Soon after raising the issue I started discussing it with @BBH (Eric) and we both started to develop a way with dealing with the issue.

This week I have finally put my money (time) where my mouth is. A process of disease data collection was developed… with addition to the cleanup of AFB affected sites by @BBH, which then lead to a dataset that I could use to construct a notification page. It was with this initial information that the page was constructed and the backend system was developed.

You can view the page now from a link on the main landing page.

The primary direct link to the page is:

I have also created some ‘shortcut’ links

The page is very basic at the moment, but a lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to make it scalable and maintainable.

The next step is to include notifications, but in the meantime we will be posting all identified cases in the American Foul Brood forum thread here (so please ‘watch’ this thread if you are a beekeeper in the region)

We will also be writing up a ‘what to do’ page to assist beekeepers when they believe their hive isn’t healthy.

All feedback appreciated… this is a work in progress to assist you… the beekeeper!

Time for some sleep! :sleeping: :sleeping_bed:

Great stuff. Thank you. It would be good if you could include an entry as to where it is thought it came from. This will help educate beekeepers about control and prevention.


I’d love to have the information but it’s too difficult to deduce. With most cases of AFB that I have seen identified, they are generally identified in the later stages of development/deterioration when the beekeeper notices a visual change in the hive or a lack of bee activity, which is often interpreted as a failing queen. With the amount of time that has passed in these situations it’s difficult to identify how or even when the AFB was first introduced.

We can definitely ask the beekeeper if they suspect the source of the AFB was Nuc/Swarm/Shared frames/Robbing etc. and record it.

A general observation is that robbing is a major issue in the spread of AFB, so I believe watching out for and managing this behaviour, especially during a nectar dearth, is extremely important for your hives health.

As a side note, we record a similar value called ‘likely source’ for swarms collected in Canberra, which in many cases identifies a nearby or neighbouring beekeeper’s hive. This has been criticised by some as the beekeeper’s hive can’t be ‘proven’ to be the source. I still maintain that hives swarm… and through the collected information we can see there is an extremely high frequency of beekeeper’s hives in the proximity of swarm collections.

Swarm statistics from last season are here:

Two of you are champions, :slight_smile: Thanks so much for this work. If you need a contributor to this database, from February onward, I will be happy to do some work. Cheers, Agi

Two questions. Do you want swarm information if a beekeeper simply collects his own swarms.

Was wondering about AFB affected colonies swarming, any info on this? I guess an “absconding swarm” is a possibility

I think if we recorded beekeeper swarms it’d be a full time job! would be great stat for colony expansion though. The swarm stats are on swarms called in by the public (ie. non-beekeepers), We hope that beekeepers collect their own swarms :smiley:. Nearly all calls come in through the swarm pages on

Swarms are definitely a potential source of AFB, and because of this and other potential diseases we quarantine the swarms we collect.

I would also be interested to find information on how an AFB infection affects the colony’s propensity for swarming or as you have mentioned, absconding.

There is a specific section on the NZ page regarding swarms + AFB which has an interesting note about the bees purging the AFB spores when drawing comb: