6 Sep 2011

Outbreak of bacterial disease in Hawke's Bay hives

3:22 pm on 6 September 2011

The Hawke's Bay Beekeepers president says a significant outbreak of American Foul Brood disease in the region highlights the need for the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to prosecute irresponsible beekeepers.

The bacterial disease, first recorded in New Zealand in 1877, is the most widespread and destructive of the brood diseases.

John Berry says an outbreak in the Waiohiki area on the southern outskirts of Napier led to 30 hives having to be destroyed by burning.

The biggest problem is that MAF won't prosecute anybody, he says. One beekeeper in the area last year was found to have dead hives at five of seven sites, but was not prosecuted.

Mr Berry says hives found dead in spring due to American Foul Brood means they've been infected for months.

He says a bad outbreak can kill clean hives within several kilometres of infected ones.