AFB is the most serious honey bee disease in New Zealand, and controlling it is a major cost to beekeepers. In New Zealand, we have a pest management plan with a goal to eliminate AFB from all beehives.
AFB Reporting and Destruction
Within seven days of finding AFB you must advise the Management Agency of the details and destroy the hive by burning. For more information visit the AFB website.
Annual Disease Return (ADR)
This return is forwarded in April each year to all registered beekeepers for completion. It is a statutory requirement that the return be completed and returned by 1 June to AsureQuality. The return confirms the number of apiary sites and hives owned by the beekeeper and summarises any American Foulbrood (AFB) that has been discovered and confirms the date the hives were destroyed (date), during the preceding year.
Certification of Inspection (COI)
Many new or hobby beekeepers do not hold a Disease Elimination Conformity Agreement (DECA) so in this case a COI will be forwarded to the beekeeper in September each year, for completion and return by 1 December. In the COI the beekeeper is required to have another beekeeper, who holds a DECA, inspect and certify that the hives have been inspected and do not have AFB.
Both the inspector and beekeeper (owner of the hives) sign the form.
Disease Elimination Conformity Agreement (DECA)
Part of the process as a beekeeper is entering into an agreement with the Management Agency that firstly you can recognise AFB, secondly that you know what to do with it when you find it and lastly how you are going to eliminate it from your hives. This agreement is called a Disease Elimination Conformity Agreement, known in short as a DECA.
AFB Recognition and Competency Test courses are run all over New Zealand – to find out more click here.
The legal requirements are a lot to consider prior to getting into beekeeping. The AFB Pest Management Programme in collaboration with AsureQuality, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the wider beekeeping community, all need to work collaboratively together to up hold the New Zealand apiculture industry as world class with its point of difference of being free from many bee diseases. We must work together to protect our borders and market access. As a new beekeeper please do your bit!